The High-Tech Texan Blog

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's The Month of The New iPhone

July is here so the world is less than 11 days away from another media blitz, more long queus and pontifications about the new iPhone (dubbed iPhone 3G). Details were released today and I spoke with Leah Bird, head of Houston area AT&T Wireless. Leah will apepar on my radio show this Saturday at 11am with other inside info about the new phone.

She first quelled the rumor that the phone will initially be sold unlocked with no contract. The company did announce that the new iPhone will indeed be sold without the standard two-year service agreement at a later date. Get prepped to shell out $599 (8GB) or $699 (16GB) when that time comes.

Unlike the customer and media frenzy on the original iPhone launch date last year, the phone will go on sale when the AT&T Wireless store doors open at 8am on July 11. Last year the stores temporarily closed the doors late in the afternoon and reopened at 6pm.

Activating the iPhone 3G will be done in stores this time around. I particularly liked the self-activation process we had to go through last year but this way AT&T can control the upgrades, contracts and upsell opportunities.

Leah pointed out that the company wants to make sure new and current customers go over a checklist so they can be more prepared at the point of purchase. There are detailed lists for new AT&T customers porting their numbers, current AT&T users and current iPhone users. Oh, and there is an $18 upgrade fee on top of the hardware price of $199 (8GB black) or $299 (16GB black or white).

It's interesting to see Apple and AT&T opening up a bit more this time around by providing details, photos and even videos of the new phone. Everything was so hush-hush last year but that only added to the publicity and sales frenzy. It was one of the biggest product launches in history partly due to the lack of information beforehand.

Leah expects customers to line-up the night before the launch and ground zero, at least locally, will be at the flagship Experience store on the Southwest Freeway.

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