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New iPhone video shows home activation, e-mail support

Long delays during iPhone Day might be avoided by moving the activation process to an over-the-Web model, and we're definitely talking "pull" e-mail here.

In addition to revealing the prices for iPhone data plans Tuesday, Apple also released another video showing how iPhone customers can activate their new phones from home.

With long lines expected outside Apple and AT&T stores on Friday, some analysts had expressed concern that the process of setting up an iPhone could turn into an all-night affair. But the companies are letting customers activate their iPhones over the Internet using iTunes. The video shows how plugging the iPhone into a Mac or PC steps the user through the signup process, which of course works flawlessly on the demo.

Apple is using iTunes as the central syncing application for the iPhone, just like it does for any iPod. But in addition to music and movies, the iPhone will sync contacts, calendar, and e-mail through iTunes. The iPhone's e-mail application can also pull e-mail over the air from accounts set up to use the IMAP or POP3 protocols.

At some point, Apple may also be able to let iPhone users link right into their company's Microsoft Exchange e-mail servers. Mary Jo Foley over at our sister publication ZDnet.com reported Tuesday that Apple plans to cut a licensing deal with Microsoft for access to the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, giving iPhone users a direct path into Exchange accounts. There's been no word about whether the iPhone will support Research in Motion's BlackBerry or Motorola's Good Mobile Messaging push e-mail software, which would deliver e-mail messages as they come in.