Looks like we'll have to get up bright and early to buy the new iPhone. Also, AT&T says a "no-commitment" iPhone is "coming soon."
First things first: The new iPhone 3G will go on sale at 8 a.m. next Friday at AT&T retail stores and Apple stores. So if you're planning on lining up, you'd better be ready well before sunrise.
Also, AT&T has finally clarified pricing for current AT&T subscribers who want the iPhone 3G.
In a nutshell, if you're "upgrade eligible" (log into your AT&T account to see if you are), you'll be able to buy the new iPhone for the discounted price of $199 for the 8GB version or $299 for the 16GB model. (AT&T is somewhat vague about the eligibility criteria, although your credit history and the time remaining on your contract are factors.) You'll also have to pay an $18 "upgrade fee."
If you're not eligible for the discount, you'll have to fork over extra for an "early upgrade"-$399 for the 8GB iPhone 3G or $499 for the 16GB model. Ouch.
AT&T also says that a "no-commitment" (read: no contract) iPhone 3G will be available soon, at $599 for the 8GB version and or $699 for the 16GB handset. Pricey, but hey-no two-year contract.
Unfortunately, AT&T won't offer the new iPhone on a prepaid basis, at least not at launch.
Some other items: You will have to get your new iPhone activated at the store, and that means a credit check. So bring a photo ID and your Social Security number (especially if you're not yet an AT&T customer). If you want to cut down on the wait, you can go to an AT&T store now and take care of the credit check early.
There have been some rumors that current iPhone users could simply register the IMEI number of their new iPhone with AT&T clerks-meaning they could finish activating their phones at home. It's a nice idea, but so far, there's no indication from AT&T that such a plan exists.
As for the newly detailed rate plans, there aren't any surprises. Each plan comes bundled with unlimited data; $70 a month gets you 450 minutes and 5,000 night/weekend minutes, while a 900-minute plan with unlimited nights/weekends goes for $90. A 1,350-minute plan will cost $110 per month. Family plans are available, and business data plans will cost $45 a month (versus $30 per month for standard data in the bundled plans). Text messages are extra, too. Individuals pay $5 for 200 texts per month, $15 for 1,500 a month, or $20 for unlimited texting. For family plans, you'll pay $30 a month for unlimited messaging.
AT&T also has a checklist of required documentation, fees, and rate plans. Download the PDF here.
Guess that $199 price Steve Jobs announced for the iPhone 3G should have come with a massive asterisk, huh?
iPhone 3G purchasing info [AT&T]