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Games

The iPhone. Coming on June 29th. Officially.

Department of "News That Confirms What We Pretty Much Already Knew": Apple has released some iPhone ads that end with an availability date--June 29th. It's been looking like a late-June product for awhile, hoaxes and random statements by Cingular reps notwithstanding. (Presumably, the phone will be available from both AT&T and Apple Stores at launch.)

(Update--Engadget had the scoop on this news first; here's their initial post when it was a rumor, and a darkly funny update.)

You can watch the new ads here. Unlike other current Apple ad campaigns, they're neither funny nor funky--they just show an iPhone doing its thing in close-up. Apple, presumably, thinks this is a product that'll self itself--and I bet the company's right.

Me, I have lots of questions about this phone, but two loom particularly large:

Just how usable is that on-screen keyboard? I've never seen a virtual QWERTY keyboard that was anything other than lame, but there's a first time for everything. At last week's D conference, Steve Jobs spoke of the keyboard and said, "Once you learn how to trust it, you fly." We shall see.

Just how many apps will this phone support? At D, Jobs also said, for the first time, that Apple will allow third parties to develop iPhone programs, though under limitations that he didn't define. That's huge news, since it'll permit the iPhone to become a rich computing platform rather than a locked-down, fixed-purpose one. (And it means that iPhone users won't be entirely dependent on Apple to decide what the phone should do--at the moment, for instance, there's no evidence it'll offer true instant messaging at launch, since its version of iChat is SMS-based.)

I could go on, but we're looking forward to answering a lot of our questions about the iPhone by getting our hands on one, and publishing a review as quickly as humanly possible once we do.