The process, which was detailed by AppleInsider over the weekend, lets shoppers enter their billing information and pre-qualify for iPhone's subsidized pricing from their home computer, and then make an appointment to pick up their new handset at a local Apple retail store.
The four-step process first requests that customers enter their credit card, billing address, age, and social security number so that an automated credit check can be performed. If successful, customers can then select a preferred calling plan and review their iPhone order.
"Once youâre done, choose your closest Apple Retail Store and let us know when youâd like to come in to complete your purchase," Apple says. "An Apple Specialist will be ready to help you personalize your new iPhone 3G, make calls, browse the web, receive email, and more."
Apple will still require that all iPhones undergo a final activation before leaving an Apple retail store.