Woah! In the last week we’ve seen a plethora (a PLETHORA!!) of online activity around the iPhone release, which occurs Saturday morning (our time) in the US. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting tidbits.
1. Apple released its official guided tour this week, complete with faux turtle-necked Steve Jobs.

2. This slovenly chap was (unfortunately for Apple) the first in line for an iPhone (four days before release), and further reports suggest that professional queue-sitters have been employed for up to $1000. Around the blogosphere, the Apple detractors are still out in force, some calling the iPhone the “greatest failure of all time”…

3. Which is vehemently contradicted by the actual reviews, available now that the review embargo has been lifted. My favourite is the hilarious “My iPhone Diary” by New York Times columnist David Pogue. New features uncovered like the fake GPS and real time traffic reports right on the Google map suggest we’re only scratching the surface as to what kind of new features we’ll see in this breakthrough device.

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal, provides a more austere review, yet interestingly vindicates the controversial virtual keyboard: “Three days in I wanted to throw it out the window, five days in I was typing faster than my Treo QWERTY keyboard.” However Walt also provides that the greatest drawback at this point seems to be that it is only available on one carrier (AT&T, the USA’s largest).

4. The competition responds with the Nokia E65. However, I get the feeling Nokia is to iPhone what PC is to Mac, and right now there would be frantic activity in both the marketing and development labs of said competition. By contrast, Apple are probably readying their “Hi, I’m an iPhone, and I’m a Nokia” ads.

5. What about the plans? US mobile phone plans are somewhat different to Australian plans (they’re mainly based on bundled minutes), however here is a really great breakdown of the TCO (total cost of ownership) for the iPhone.

Interestingly, there are myriad plans, which is somewhat at odds with the Apple simplicity ethos, but perhaps the most interesting story in all of this is how other carriers will be brought on as it has a bearing on what networks the iPhone will support in the medium term, and of course how the Australian market will in turn be serviced.

– Ben Prendergast