updated 09:10 am EDT, Fri June 8, 2007
iPhone Preorders Prepay
Electronista exclusive, updated Apple appears to be taking 'free' pre-orders for the iPhone, Electronista has learned. A new credible source from an Apple reseller has spoken with Apple by phone and was informed that he could reserve a place for the iPhone in advance of its June 29th launch. The pre-order would ensure a call back upon availability and a likely shipment immediately after the device is available to the public. The reservation process was "very official" and would apply to any other customer, the source (known only as "Dan") said.
Such a practice would mark a radical departure for Apple, which has reportedly discouraged AT&T waiting lists. The company also typically allows only paid pre-orders and only when te product is listed through all of the company's official channels.
The unnamed Apple representative was equally adamant that ordering directly from Apple was the best chance of receiving an iPhone at or near the device's launch. Its stock would be considerably larger than at Apple or AT&T retail stores, the agent claimed.
AT&T is also ready to offer the iPhone for pre-paid service, according to the source. Contact with the provider indicates that the phone could be purchased outright and could then be used with a SIM card enabled for pay-as-you-go. Renewing a contract near its end or signing up as a new subscriber would offer a significant drop in price -- likely below the $499 official price currently announced, "Dan" said. Official pricing for the contract-free version wasn't disclosed but is expected to be considerably higher than for subscriptions.
The claim follows Apple's recent decision to re-edit its ads to remove mention of requiring a two-year activation plan for service, and also follows after a potentially unrelated but significant move by AT&T to add data access to its pay-as-you-go service, which enables limited Internet access along with calling for those who rely on cellphones only infrequently.