Expect Apple fans to be lining up in the not-so-distant future. After all, an iPhone release is a huge event for the Apple community, and the release of the iPhone 3GS, announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, is set to be one of the biggest tech events of the year.
Apple and AT&T have filled in the public at last on when and where they can get their hands on the new smart phone, which adds video, a higher capacity, and more. Units will ship June 19 and arrive in time for a launch that day at AT&T and Apple stores. AT&T is taking preorders on the handset online and at its stores.
Customers not preordering that hope to get their hands on the phone may be disappointed. AT&T says that it will form two lines on launch day -- one of customers who preordered and a second of customers who didn't. Those who did not preorder will only be able to buy the phone during normal store hours, while the preorder customers will be able to line up at 7 am. Further, upon the store's official opening the two lines will be merged, with the preorder line going first and getting first priority over the new phones.
Apple Retail Stores are set to also open early at 8 am. Preorder customers are allowed to attend the early opening to pick up their new phone.
Customers who are new to AT&T or current customers that have gone through at least 18 months on their current contract will be able to score an iPhone 3GS for $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB). Current iPhone 3G customers who wish to upgrade to an iPhone 3G S, but haven’t yet reached the 18 month mark must pay $399/$499 or $599/$699 respectively for the 16GB and 32GB models based on how much time is left on their two-year contracts.
One alternative for existing AT&T customers is to cancel their contract ($175), wait three months, and then return to AT&T and get the new customer pricing. A returning customer will save $225 with this scheme on either model, but will have to endure approximately a three month wait. Obviously this is infuriating to existing customers, but some will take what they can get.
quote: Many iPhone owners are expected to endure this unfavorable pricing and upgrade immediately, though.