Shares of Apple Inc. and AT&T Inc. firmed more than 1 percent on Friday ahead of the release of the iPhone, amid expectations of growing demand for advanced, multi-feature wireless devices.
As gadget fans lined up to be among the first buyers of the iPhone, a music- and video-playing phone that goes on sale on Friday evening, Apple shares rose $1.66, or 1.38 percent, to $122.21, and AT&T shares rose 56 cents, or 1.37 percent, to $41.30.
AT&T, for now the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, has said that of those making early inquiries about the device, around 40 percent were not already AT&T customers.
The company hopes to capture new subscribers who might switch carriers to buy the iPhone, which combines regular talk functions with music- and video-playing and Web browsing.
Some analysts have said the iPhone could hurt rival smartphone providers, but others expect the buzz around it to drive consumers to try out other types of multi-feature phones.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and strong subscriber growth for its popular wireless e-mail devices.
It also gave a higher-than expected outlook for the current year despite worries about losing customers to the iPhone.
RIM shares jumped 18 percent to $195.67 in morning trading.