updated 06:00 pm EDT, Thu June 12, 2008
More iPhone 3G details
An internal email leaked on Thursday offers more details (and confirms others) about the pending iPhone 3G launch, including an "unbrick" procedure by AT&T/Apple at first purchase, higher data pricing plans (especially for corporate customers), a three device limit at AT&T stores, and a colloboration between the two companies on GPS-enabled applications. The email, first noted by Boy Genius Report, confirms that the iPhone 3G will be activated at the point of sale when the device is purchased at an AT&T or retail store; however, it does note that some users may be required to use iTunes at home if in-store activation fails, suggesting that Apple may allow in-home iTunes-based activations -- touted last year by Steve Jobs and used for all previous iPhone activations -- sometime down the road.
Interestingly, the required in-store activiation at both AT&T and Apple retail "includes a a short tether process to unbrick the 3G device will be performed in all AT&T stores (tether cords will be provided)."
The $199 and $299 prices offered for the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G will require a new contract activation or that customers be "upgrade eligible" based on contract tenure, the memo confirmed: the one exception is the all active postpaid customers in good standing with a 2G iPhone will be eligible to receive the qualified upgrade pricing for a 3G device regardless their current eligbility status, effectively offering most iPhone customers the subsidized pricing. AT&T said that it has not determined upgrade pricing for non-eligible (and non-iPhone) customers, but stated that there would not be a “no commitment” price for those just looking to buy the device without service.
Unfortunately, the memo says that prepaid and "Pick Your Plan" options will not be allowed on the 3G device.
AT&T appears to have made some concessions to customers, but quietly raised prices behind the scenes. AT&T has extended the return period on the new iPhone to 30 days (from 14 days on the current iPhone), but as noted previously, has increased new iPhone 3G data plan to $30/month, which includes unlimited data and visual voicemail.
However, the memo says that "customers intending to use the iPhone 3G for access to corporate e-mail, business applications, or access to corporate intranet are required to activate with Enterprise Data Plan for iPhone," which costs $45 per month. It's not clear how AT&T will regulate this, but the pricing is inline with Blackberry service. All data plans, of course, will require a companion voice plan.
In the memo, AT&T also said it would keep both the legacy 2G data rate plan at $20/month and 2G iPhones as in-store display models around "until further notice."
In general, BGR notes that launch day precautions and festivities will mirror last year's launch, with extended store hours, crowd controls, etc. and that security will be provided to stores requesting armed police or guards.
For those who purchased a 2G iPhone from AT&T stores after May 27th, the memo provides a wealth information regarding the previoulsy announced "free" upgrade policy, which charges 10 percent for some and offers it for free to others (depending on the date of purchase).
Of course, activating your new iPhone 3G will not brick your old first-gen iPhone: users will be able to use iTunes to activate the phone on another account or sign up for service.
[iPhone 3G storage capacity corrected]