updated 08:15 pm EDT, Mon June 8, 2009
iPhone 3G S upgrade
Following the announcement of the new iPhone 3G S AT&T has released details on its upgrade program for customers who are not yet entitled to a full hardware upgrade. Customers who have had their phone for less than 18 months will see an additional $200 added on to the price of each model. This means anyone who purchased an iPhone 3G last year will have to pay $399 for the new 16GB model and $499 for the 32GB model. Those who upgrade will also be required to sign on to a new 2 year plan and will be subject to an additional $18 upgrade fee. AT&T notes that can still purchase the new phone at a "no-commitment" cost of $599 and $699 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively.
Customers who recently purchased an iPhone 3G from AT&T are in luck as the company is extending its return policy and offering the iPhone 3G S at the same eligibility pricing level, but those who purchased from an Apple Store may not receive the same treatment: although iPhones purchased from Apple carry a 14-day policy, a return may not restore a customer's upgrade eligibility. Two different Apple retail stores told MacNN that customers should look to AT&T for direction on keeping their number (after a return) as well as determining upgrade eligibility on future purchases and neither the Apple retail stores nor AT&T was able to confirm whether upgrade eligibility would be restored after a recently purchased iPhone 3G was returned to an Apple Store.
For AT&T customers, the carrier has told MacNN that it will be extending its usual 30-day return policy to allow any customer that purchased an iPhone 3G after May 9th to upgrade to the new iPhone 3G S. These customers will receive credit for the amount they paid and will only be charged a difference in price if they decide to move up a model. To qualify for this extended customers must go to an AT&T store and order the iPhone 3G S prior to June 18.
Some customers may have more success when determining AT&T's early upgrade eligibility: the carrier's website notes that "Equipment discounts are available from time to time based on a number of factors: service tenure, spending levels, payment history, usage practices, and other factors." This indicates that some customers might be eligible for cheaper upgrade plans and should check their eligibility online.
In addition, Apple is now allowing the iPhone 3G S to be pre-ordered through its online store and promises delivery on June 19th or users can make a reservation to pick up an iPhone 3G S on June 19th. (According to the website, customers can also ensure that they will receive their new phone on its release date by going to a local Apple store and pre-ordering it there as well.)