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Street Answers iPhone

Analysts and investors alike applauded the long-rumored arrival of the Apple (AAPL) iPhone at Tuesday's Macworld in San Francisco, where CEO Steve Jobs showed off his company's continued knack for user-friendly design and forward-thinking products.

The newest device has been a boon for the stock. Apple shares soared to close higher than 8% over the previous day, and were nearing the $100 mark Wednesday after posting a new 52-week high of $97.80.

The stock was recently trading at $96.24 in more than double the usual volume.

Launching in June, the iPhone's 4-gigabyte model will sell for $500 and the 8-GB model for $600, both with a two-year contract from Cingular, the company's exclusive telecom partner for the device, which entered into the contract before even seeing the actual phone.

"The phone was far more impressive than we imagined it would be, and it appears to be worth the wait," JP Morgan analyst Bill Shope wrote in a Wednesday note. "We believe yesterday's introduction marks a significant rebound in product innovation for Apple and extends the company's powerful consumer franchise."

Slimmer than any smartphones sold to date, according to Jobs, the iPhone substitutes a 3.5-inch screen with a touchscreen in place of a QWERTY keyboard and multiple buttons.

Users tap the screen to retrieve and view videos, photos and Web pages, listen to music or make phone calls. It runs the Mac OS and Safari browser, and synchs with iTunes.

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