updated 11:20 pm EDT, Wed July 9, 2008
Regent Street sells iPhone
US Apple retail stores will not be the only ones selling the iPhone 3G when it launches Friday, as an employee at the Regent Street location in London confirmed "loads" of available stock, as well as the ability to process O2 network activations. Ars Technica writes that the process works similar to the AT&T method, where phones must be activated before they leave the store – an action Apple is endorsing to ensure that unlocks are done on as few iPhones as possible.
The employee clarifies that only new customers or those adding an additional line to a plan are able to take advantage of the service through the Apple store, and that contract renewals and upgrades must be handled through O2 locations or Carphone Warehouse. It is uncertain if the same applies in the US, the only other country confirmed to offer this service in the Apple retail stores.
Recently, Apple Canada announced it would embargo sales of the device in its own stores, in response to prohibitively high wireless rates set by Canadian GSM provider Rogers Wireless. A protest movement, dubbed Ruined iPhone, recently provoked an action from the monopolistic wireless giant by obtaining almost 60,000 signatures against the telco. Rogers is now offering users a $30 6GB data plan, which will be available as a promotion until late August, in an attempt to put out some angry fires.
Ars Technica also found that the activation process is a little different from in the past, with the SIM card being given to the customer after the purchase is complete, rather than simply including it with the iPhone. The IMEI number is then registered directly with the iPhone's serial number, which is merely used by Apple to verify whether it is an original SIM card during service attempts. The source believes the process will not prevent the SIM card from being used in another phone.