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Apple memo coaches employees on iPhone 3G launch questions


Apple Inc. is distributing to its retail and sales personnel an internal iPhone 3G Frequently Asked Questions document which implies that first-day sales and activation procedures are still being ironed out. It does, however, provide some information on bulk iPhone 3G sales for businesses.

The 3-page document outlines recommended responses to 17 common questions customers may ask of retail staffers in the weeks and days leading up to the handset's official launch on Friday, July 11th, while urging those employees not to "speculate beyond the information that is public today."

"You may not place iPhone 3G on hold for anyone. No exceptions. Do not create a waitlist," Apple corporate told store managers in the document. "It is critical that all stores follow the same process to ensure every customer has an equal and fair opportunity to purchase a phone."

Since iPhone 3G will be sold on a first come, first served basis, employees are also being told to call any customer who has reserved an iPhone Personal Shopping session on or after July 11th and inform them that Personal Shopping sessions won't apply to the iPhone 3G.

"We hope to offer Personal Shopping for iPhone 3G shortly," Apple said.

If a customer says, "I just bought a first generation iPhone. Will I be able to upgrade to an iPhone 3G at a discounted price or exchange it for an iPhone 3G?," Apple store reps are being told to say that they "don’t have any information regarding upgrades."

If a customer asks why they should buy an iPod touch if they can get more bang for their buck by buying an iPhone 3G (which includes all the functionality of an iPod touch), employees are instructed to respond by saying the "iPhone 3G is offered at such a terrific price because, like most cell phones, it requires a 2-year carrier contract."

Customers may then ask, "Are you going to change the iPod touch pricing now that you lowered the cost of iPhone?" To this, employees should respond by saying, "Not that I am aware of."

Meanwhile, Apple is keeping its employees — like the rest of the world — in the dark about first-day activation procedures. Should a customer ask whether it's true that iPhone 3G activation will have to take place in the store, then inquire about buying one without in-store activation, retail staffers should say: "I don’t have any details at this time about activation."

The document does, however, reveal some useful information regarding bulk iPhone 3G purchases. For instance, one individual can buy several iPhone 3G units for their business and have them set up in an Apple retail store if their business uses a consumer rate plan.

"If your business uses a corporate plan, sometimes called a CRU or IRU plan, you will need to go to an AT&T store to purchase the iPhone 3G for your employees," Apple says. Similarly, small business owners looking to purchases the new phone at volume discounts should "contact an AT&T representative," as the wireless carrier "offers corporate billing and data plans."

The internal FAQ document also refers several other questions to AT&T representatives, such as those related to using iPhone 3G in Canada and other countries. "iPhone 3G is a world phone," Apple said. "Check with AT&T about international roaming fees and data plans."

Customers asking about one-time fees associated with moving from a first-generation iPhone to an iPhone 3G should be told that they "will need to sign a new two-year contract at the point of purchase, but "may want to check with AT&T regarding any fees."

Finally, Apple informs staffers that "Detailed rate plans have not yet been announced. When they are announced, Apple Store Specialists will be ready to review and help [customers] pick out the best plan for [their] needs."

People familiar with Cupertino-based company's plans say the iPhone maker will hold worldwide retail meetings on July 6th to begin conveying official launch procedures to its staff.

Apple insider "hiimamac" helped contribute to this report.