We stood in line at a local Apple retail store early this morning to experience the first-day iPhone 3G launch and new activation process. What follows is a comprehensive set of notes covering the process for those customers who'll be picking up their new iPhone later today, this weekend, or sometime thereafter.
Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Apple retail chief Ron Johnson offered some clarity on how his retail staffers will service droves of queued iPhone 3G hopefuls this Friday, how long each activation will take, and what kind of supply stores will have on hand.
Apple has issued emails and updated its iPhone pages with new information regarding iPhone 3G launch day procedures. Meanwhile, the first sets of unboxing photos are appearing on the Web now that demo units have started to arrive at retail stores around the world.
Apple plans to rely heavily on its portable checkout devices to speed up the iPhone 3G checkout and activation process at its retail stores beginning this Friday, according to information coming out of the company's retail meetings. Other notes from the internal gatherings follow.
Original iPhone owners upgrading to an iPhone 3G can hand-down their old iPhone to a family member or friend with a few simple steps, the most complex of which entails a trek down to a local AT&T retail store to pick up a fresh SIM card.
AT&T is attempting to alleviate some of the confusion surrounding the upgrade paths to iPhone 3G with a series of video guides focused on getting customers "iReady" before the 8:00 a.m. launch on July 11th. The three videos covered in this report are aimed at 1) existing AT&T iPhone customers moving to iPhone 3G, 2) non-iPhone AT&T customers moving to iPhone 3G, and 3) customers new to AT&T moving to iPhone 3G.
With AT&T increasing data costs while simultaneously cutting text messages from its iPhone 3G plans, individual iPhone users upgrading to the 3G model will find themselves paying between 12.5% and 25% more to maintain the same level of service while FamilyTalk plan subscribers will likely see their costs rise anywhere from 8% to 27%. Included are some charts observations to help explain why. [Updated 9:00 p.m. Eastern with clarification on FamilyTalk SMS options and pricing.]
AT&T announced Tuesday that iPhone 3G buyers will be forced into more costly service plans than those offered alongside the original iPhone. Plans will now start at $70 for a package that includes 450 minutes and no text messages. The carrier also issued a series of "tips" on how to be "iReady" when the new Apple handset goes on sale at its retail stores at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, July 11.