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First Live Review: iPhone Lives Up to the Hype

The long-awaited iPhone lives up to the hype, said Edward Baig, technology reporter with USA Today on CNBC's On The Money.

In the first live review of the smartphone, Baig told CNBC that Apple's iPhone was easy to use despite the lack of physical keys, and that its battery life was not a big problem.

Other reviewers also raved about the device. "It is certainly the most beautiful and most radical smartphone or handheld computer I have ever tested," said Walter Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal.

New York Times technology writer David Pogue also weighed in with a largely positive review saying that the iPhone lived up to most of its considerable hype even if it did fall short in some areas, Reuters reported.

The hotly anticipated device will hit the stores on Friday and could cost up to $3,000 with a required two-year service contract, but that didn't stop a handful of admirers from starting to wait to buy the device.

A small clutch of gadget enthusiasts staked out spots in front of Apple's store on New York's tony Fifth Avenue, days before the iPhone goes on sale on Friday evening local time.

Apple iPhone
Apple iPhone

Plenty of potential iPhone consumers have said they would wait for Apple's next versions of the device to buy it, hoping for a lower price and faster network connection.

But industry analysts expect the first iPhone to sell quickly, at least in its initial months.

"I love everything Apple, and this is going to be something that goes down in the history books of cell phones," said Jessica Rodriguez. She showed up Tuesday, taking the fourth place in line as temperatures promised to hover near 90 for the next few days.

She plans to switch to iPhone's exclusive carrier, AT&T , just to use the device, and will give her current Sprint Nextel phone to her mother.

"My dad thinks I'm crazy, but then he saw the commercial and said, 'I want it,"' Rodriguez said of her 76-year-old father.

David Clayman, a recent university graduate who starts a technology consultant job in July and was third in line, said he hoped to buy several devices, one for his father's 50th birthday and a second to auction off for his favorite charity.

Buyers of the music and video-playing iPhone must sign on to a two-year contract with wireless carrier AT&T to use the device when it begins to sell to the public on Friday.

Apple and AT&T Tuesday outlined the different kinds of contracts that will be available, from $60 per month for the most basic plan to just under $100 per month for more talk time.

That would add $1,400 to $2,400 to the cost of what many say is already a steeply-priced $500-to-$600 gadget.

The iPhone combines a wireless phone with music and video and Web browsing. It will be sold exclusively through AT&T for at least two years.

The service plans include unlimited data, visual voice mail, 200 SMS text messages, roll-over minutes and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, the companies said. Plan prices rise with the number of minutes of talk time.

Apple shares have gained nearly 35 percent since it unveiled the phone in January.

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