Hype over Apple Incorporated's newest device is reaching fever pitch as the company gears up for the official debut of the iPhone.  The hybrid phone can play music, take pictures and surf the Internet. It goes on sale in the U.S. on Friday.  VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

Anticipation has been building since January when Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the company's first foray into the mobile phone market.  Since then, Apple shares have gained more than 40 percent.  John Shinal is a technology editor at Market Watch.

"This is momentum investing,? says Shinal.  ?A lot of it is not based on fundamentals.  A lot of it is based on optimism about what is going to happen in the future."

And future expectations are high.  Apple is projecting sales of 10 million iPhones by next year.

"We've invented a new technology called multi touch, and it works like magic," says Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.

Jennifer Boone is a technology manager at the Consumer Electronics Association.  She believes excitement over Apple's newest device is well deserved.  Besides producing healthy competition in the industry, she says the iPhone is poised to bring cell phone technology to the next level. 

"This is really turning up the heat a little bit,? says Boone. ?We're calling this the new convergence and that's because it's the convergence of content and hardware as well, so you can really take your audio, video, your photos and music with you wherever you go."

Boone predicts the next generation of mobile devices will have the ability to merge various communication mediums seamlessly.  And the most successful will offer style and functionality without sacrificing ease of use.  But with prices starting at $499, the iPhone is not for everyone.

"One of the downsides is certainly the $500 price point.  I think a lot of consumers will have a little bit of sticker shock around that.,? notes Boone.

"It's just too much for a phone.  I think, just get a phone and an iPod," says a consumer.

Apple sold nearly 400,000 iPod music players when it was introduced in 2001.  Analysts predict consumers will buy as many as 200,000 iPhones in the first two days of launch.  The iPhone goes on sale Friday evening at Apple retail outlets and through phone service provider A.T.&T.