Well, it’s coming.

Is everybody on the AT&T-formerly-Cingular-network ready for the iPhone?

In a statement more fit for Hollywood than Silicon Valley, Apple announced that their cell phone/portable multimedia gadget “premieres this Friday night at Apple and AT&T retail stores.” Said stores will be opening at 9 a.m. all summer long to offer “support for iPhone at the Genius Bar and personal training through Apple’s new One to One program.”

This is material that’s too good to be made up.

In response, Verizon-which isn’t compatible with the iPhone-fired back, saying their own retail stores will be open all day tomorrow, letting customers test drive the Verizon network and their own set of 18 multimedia/music phones.

The popular LG VX9400 is now available for $99, and Verizon is giving away a “music essentials kit,” which includes a 2GB memory card, headphones and a data transfer cable to anyone who buys it.

They’re also offering “name that song,” which allows users to hold their phone up to any speaker with a song playing. The software identifies the song and lets the user instantly download it to their phone.

The iPhone is expected to have a strong burst of immediate sales, but some experts are skeptical about its ability to attract a strong market share among regular consumers.

“The underlying drivers for converging music, multimedia, and communications capabilities in a device such as an iPhone are certainly prevalent in today’s market,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates. “However, the high price point may prevent the iPhone from achieving greater adoption over the short term. It may be an early-adopter product that appeals to technophiles but initially leaves other interested users on the outside looking in.”

Parks Associates recently put out a study showing only 3% of consumers surveyed are strongly interested in spending $499.99 on the iPhone including a two-year contract.

iPhones will be available in a 4GB model for $499 and an 8GB model for $599, and will work with either a PC or Mac, according to an Apple statement.

Playboy is eagerly on-board with the announcement of iPlayboy. The adult entertainment magazine’s package for the iPhone will include free wallpapers, photos, videos and MP3s customized for iPhone users. Several images, including non-nude images of popular playmates, will be available.

“We have always tried to stay ahead of the curve by delivering the fun, sophistication and sexiness of Playboy to our fans on the newest and hottest media platforms,” said John D. Thomas, editor of Playboy.com, in a statement. “And with so much buzz surrounding the all-in-one Apple iPhone, we knew we had to develop something specifically designed just for this device.”

The iPhone itself will bring a wide array of features to bear on the cell phone user. It’s based on a new multi-touch display controlled by a tap, flick or pinch of their fingers. Apple says the iPhone is a combination of a widescreen iPod, mobile phone and portable Internet device. While these features aren’t new in and of themselves, consumers can’t help but realize that portable music existed before the iPod came to dominance.

Time will tell, but for now, we wait during final hours of Earth without the iPhone.

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About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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