Apple and AT&T have together lifted the curtains just a little bit more on the iPhone 3G, posting preview videos and pricing details on the widely anticipated smartphone.
First, the pricing: Although Apple set the price of the iPhone 3G at $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB), you won’t get that price if you’re a current AT&T customer and you’re not eligible for an upgrade. The good news: Anyone who purchased an iPhone 1.0 prior to the July 11 release date of the iPhone 3G will be eligible for upgrade pricing. If your contract is up, or almost up, you should also be eligible for the upgrade price. Also, all new customers will get the lower price.
But if you were unlucky enough to buy a non-Apple phone from AT&T, and you’re still locked into the contract for that phone, you’ll have to pay a steeper price to switch to an iPhone: $399 for the 8GB model or $499 for the 16GB model. Both require a new two-year contract, of course.
As expected, AT&T’s service plans for the new iPhone 3G are about $10 per month pricier than with the current EDGE model. The cheapest plan will include 450 weekday minutes, 5,000 night/weekend minutes, and unlimited data for $70/month (versus $60/month currently).
There’s a new surcharge for text messages, too, starting at $5 for 200 (versus 200 free SMS messages per month included in the current plan).
Now, to the video. Apple’s Guided Tour of the forthcoming iPhone 3G pretty much tells us what we already knew from Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote speech, only without the sleep-inducing hour of application demos. It’s also pretty good viewing for current iPhone owners, who can get a peek at what the free version 2.0 (pronounced in the video as “two dot oh”) upgrade will bring them.
The hardware changes come first. GPS and the new tapered, pocket-friendly sides both feature, of course, but the video also mentions the new metal buttons, the proper headphone socket and upgraded speakers and microphone.
I almost fell asleep during the instructional section on Exchange, though, so you’ll have to check it yourself. Next come games and applications, which, to me, is the most interesting part. The Man in Black mentions GPS (or WiFi triangulated) “Interactive City Guides.” This could be huge. Instead of buying a conspicuous, rob-me-I’m-a-tourist guide book, you could instead wander around with your iPhone getting historical information in your ears and restaurant information for your belly.
Last is a point that answers a question we have had for a while. Will you be able to buy the iPhone 3G online from the Apple Store? The answer is no. The presenter tells us that the website will only offer a list of retail stores.
Not to be left behind in the video game, AT&T has also posted a video that describes “how to be iReady.” One useful feature of the video is that it shows the interior of a typical AT&T store, so you can acclimate yourself to the horrible orange-accented, indirect-lit environment before going there. Key facts: Stores open at 8 a.m. Friday, July 11; bring a photo ID and your Social Security number. Plus (I think) you’ll need a copy of your previous cellphone bill, your spouse’s social security number, the birthdates of your cats and the name of your second-grade schoolteacher.
Watch the videos at the links below, or download to your existing iPhone for a truly recursive nerd experience.
iPhone 3G product page [Apple]