Another summer, another iPhone. The new iPhone 3GS goes on sale as early as 7 a.m. Friday (June 19) and if you’re smart, you would have pre-ordered the phone online or from a store. But if you didn’t, you can still get your hands on one if you’re willing to get to a store early and wait in line.
According to Irvine Spectrum mall officials, customers are already in line in front of the Apple store as the long night begins. (It’s even been Tweeted, with pics of course. See who’s Twittering about lines at the Irvine store HERE.)
Sonya “iGirl” Smith, the OC Register’s resident iPhone expert, won’t be in line tonight, as she has been for the past two years. She ordered her 3GS the day it was announced and now eagerly awaits its arrival via snail mail. She has already shared her initial thoughts with readers, which I appreciate since I’m not an iPhone user.
Candice Shih, who pens the South Coast Plaza blog (yes, we have a reporter covering just South Coast Plaza!), will be checking in on lines at 7 a.m. Friday, and reporting her findings right here. I’ll also be posting updates throughout the day on sell-outs, lines, etc.
For those who plan to get a phone Friday, please know that people who pre-ordered will have priority at AT&T stores and most everywhere else. It does look like some Apple stores in Orange County will let people in line buy a phone as early as 7 a.m. See details below.
Orange County’s Apple stores open at 7 a.m. (though some stores say 8 a.m. on their phone message). Expect two lines, one for pre-orders, one for everyone else. See more details about individual stores below:
For those heading to AT&T stores (you can search for O.C. locations HERE), the stores open at 7 a.m. but only to allow customers who pre-ordered and notified by e-mail to leave with a phone.
Doors open for everyone else at 8 a.m. If you pre-ordered and miss the 7 a.m. opening, AT&T will let you go to the front of the line until 9 a.m. However, if you pre-ordered a phone and got confirmation that the phone is available, then an iPhone 3GS with your name on it will be waiting at the store no matter what time. You just may not be able to cut in line though if you arrive after 9 a.m. Don’t forget: Bring your receipt!
If you pre-ordered online at AT&T, your phone should arrive beginning Friday. Others could come as late as 14 days from now.
Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores also begin selling the phones Friday. However, iPhones could be in limited supplies. An employee at the Orange Best Buy said that all of its phones have been reserved for those who preordered at BestBuy.com. I’d call the store ahead of time before heading out.
I’m assuming that if you’re a major iPhone fan, you’ve already ordered your phone and should be taken care of Friday. For everyone else who has been thinking about getting the latest version, iPhones are here to stay. They may sell out in one day but more will surely be on the way as they have been every year.
Here’s a sneak peek video at the iPhone’s arrival, courtesy AT&T:
PRICING: Since the iPhone 3GS was announced two weeks ago, pricing has changed a bit. The cheapest price is $199 for the 16 GB and $299 for the 32 GB version. But people stuck in a 2-year AT&T contract had to pay $200 more. However on Wednesday, AT&T allowed some iPhone users to get the greater discount if they fall into one of two categories: they pay more than $99/month for service on their phone or their 2-year contract will end by September (visit www.att.com/iPhone to see if you’re eligible). This, of course, means that most iPhone 3G users don’t qualify for the lowest price since that phone went on sale last July. And most users don’t meet the $99 minimum, as this TechCrunch writer found out.
MONTHLY SERVICE: Same as before. Individual plans start at $70 ($30 for data, $40 for voice).
HARDWARE: iPhone 3GS — with S for Speed — is supposed to be faster in every aspect, from faster messaging, loading programs, viewing documents and loading OCRegister.com. This is because it supports 7.2 Mbps HSDPA technology. Battery life has improved, plus there’s a new camera, hardware encryption, built-in digital compass (so map will orient in direction phone is facing), voice-activated calling. And it uses voice commands on iTunes and you can edit videos right on the phone.
More iPhone info:
Phone courtesy of AT&T.
If you want to get your hands on one Friday, AT&T will open its stores at 7 a.m. — but only for customers who preordered the phone from a store.