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Some call it the "Jesus Phone," the messiah of all gadgets. It's the iPhone - maybe the most hyped piece of technology ever to hit the stores.

It coming to New Zealand, and the Herald on Sunday is one of the first in the country to put the ultimate piece of tech bling through its paces.

The iPhone isn't being officially offered by Apple here yet, but local Apple importer is shipping them in and already has 100 orders for the gadget that's a phone, iPod and mobile internet communications device in one.

Like the rest of the Apple family, its design is impressive. There is only one button on its face - the rest is controlled by an 8.8 cm touch-sensitive glass screen. You can text by using an on-screen keyboard.

But New Zealand tech fans may have to wait a little while longer for the full rapture of the Jesus phone.

It's not yet fully supported by Vodafone, and anyone who buys an iPhone has to operate it on roaming, which means having a US phone number and paying big bucks to US carrier AT & T.

For starters, there's the $1100 price tag for the 8 gig version. But the real kick comes when you need to use it - the minimum monthly calling plan is $83 a month. Calls and texts are charged at roaming rates, around $2.50 a minute for calls and 70 cents a text. A typical Vodafone package will charge 89 cents a minute for calls and 20 cents for texts.

The iPhone comes with a global warranty directly from Apple, which says everything on the iPhone will work in New Zealand, apart from a voice mail display and a "push email". Web browsing on the phone is fastest through local wireless networks, rather than the conventional phone system.

There's no word yet on when the iPhone might be offered officially here. Apple's tough demands on the phone companies - like not allowing other digital music downloads and "clipping the ticket" by earning money, on web browsing are causing issues in places outside the US.

But Vodafone NZ spokesman Paul Brislen says the company is interested.

"We're looking at them overseas, we're very interested, obviously it's a gorgeous phone, we'd love to make it available to customers."

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