Welcome to the world of smartphones.
The iPhone is no different that any other smartphone that keeps you constantly in touch. When smarphones such as the iPhone offer two types of connectivity ie: EDGE & WiFi, one must remember that when away from a short range WiFi connection you must have another method to connect or you cannot send or receive any emails or other content such as music, videos, etc. That is the purpose of a smart phone is to provide a level of connectivity that is missing in regular mobile phones.
To those who are all worked up and arguing that the iPhone does not need it's own plan....take it up with your guru Steve Jobs. It's his idea, not AT&T's to create an Apple Branded Data plan. It will be fairly priced. Get over it. All other brands of smart phones require an always on data connection. It's part of the program.
Just like you do not work for free, AT&T does not give away services for free. It's simple. Too many selfish spoiled "entitled" people stole music over the Napster network and got used to getting what they want for free. As a result they feel they are entitled to free services, free content or free data. Life is not about ripping people or companies off. Funny how it goes.... they are not complaining that they have to pay for content from iTunes.....very interesting indeed.
When one buys a new car they don't feel entitled to free gas.... it's the same thing. You want it boys and girls, you pay for it. Simple. It makes no businesss sense to give away services. Or anything for that matter. It's why we work and get paid for what we do. Seems rather hilarious to me that people actually are complaining about having to purchase a data plan. This is nothing more than a failure to understand what a smartphone is. What is required, and being willing to get into acceptance, that life is not free.
You don't want to pay for a data plan? Go out and get a free phone and quit complaining. It's obvious, the iPhone is out of your league and you cannot comprehend what's involved. Nor can you afford it or you would not be complaining. You just don't "get it". To those of us that understand, we can celebrate this brilliant milestone achievement by Apple. One that has the world at large marveling and waiting with much anticipation to purchase and use this exciting new device.