updated 01:35 pm EDT, Wed June 17, 2009
Apple retail stores open
Apple today said it would open its retail stores at 7 a.m. local time on Friday, June 19 -- one hour earlier than its previously announced time of 8 a.m. The new time is the same as launch time of the new iPhone 3G S at AT&T retail stores, which also open at 7 a.m.; the carrier, however, will only distribute the devices to owners who pre-ordered the device through its direct fulfillment service and said that other customers will only be able to purchase the phones starting at 9 a.m., according to the same report by News.com.
AT&T on Wednesday also offered an olive branch to existing iPhone 3G owners by offering early upgrade pricing for the iPhone 3G S, noting that those who would only qualify for upgrade pricing in July, August or September will now qualify for the lower prices on iPhones as of the iPhone 3G S launch this Friday.
Last Saturday, AT&T began telling customers that it sold out of its first batch of iPhone 3G S pre-orders designated for delivery on the launch day, but said that customers could continue to order through its direct fulfillment service for guaranteed delivery within 7-10 days from the order date -- although customers would receive the new device after the launch date, AT&T said the service was the best way to guarantee delivery.
Apple, however, has held on its promise of iPhone 3G S delivery and has already begun shipping orders to some customers (although MacNN's order on June 10th is still "prepared to ship" status") -- UPS is reportedly holding some shipments for delivery no earlier than Friday, June 19th.