If Apple doesn't activate in store it may be a good thing. Lines will move much faster and I imagine you'll be able to activate the phone at any cigular wireless store (including the authorized retailers).
If you read the article in USA today they said to prevent hoarding and reselling they would limit the number of phones each customer could buy. They said they were not sure on the number as of yet though.
But what does that tell you? It says to me that someone will be able to buy more then one phone and obviously you wont make them sign up for contracts on each phone.
They won't necessarily require a contract with purchase, Im sure they will tell you it is required but it is my understanding that the phone will essentially be locked until you call att to activate. I posted this info in another thread where I stated that by calling Apple.com you can get a definitive response to this.
Caller: Hi there, I am interested in purchasing an iPhone online later this week but I am wondering how I would activate the phone once I receive it?
Apple Rep: iPhones sold through Apple.com arrive at the customers home with nothing else; just the phone and packaging. The user activates the phone manually at home.
If you do not believe me call, an Apple rep and ask the same question.
What's kinda funny is that it doesn't mention this anywhere on the iPhone web site. I know it was part of the January keynote and the initial TV ads, but I haven't seen it since. Am I just missing it? Maybe activation, a 2y contract, or service is no longer required to purchase?
I think it all goes back to having to have an iTunes account and having to activate the phone through iTunes. If that part is true, then God help us all if EVERY person who buys a phone at an ATT store has to set up an iTunes account on the spot! That's scary.
perhaps the reports that Apple will be scanning the unopened boxes upon purchase are the key. is it possible that you will have to register the phones via serial number at the time of purchase? it also looks likely that AT&T will restrict sales to one per customer (not one per line on your account!) - so i imagine Apple stores will have the same policy as well.
I am telling you, go to Apple.com, call the sales line and ask the question I proposed. Apple sales reps have CLEARLY been briefed on this issue as they responded to the question without any hesitation. The only un reliable sources have been "friends uncle who knows a att store manager"......take it for what its worth but I am not going to question Apple sales reps, who in this case know a little bit more than Apple stores or ATT stores.
I have called Apple reps many times trying to extract new info about various new products and they always give you similar answers: "I am not familiar with that sir", "We have no information on that product at this time".
When asked about this one specific scenario, they CLEARLY have a rehearsed response. This was not a random incident, another member called and I also called, both with the same response.
I talked to an Apple Rep today and He told me that they are being sold online with no AT&T contact at all. They can be bought and activated at a later date. His name was Phillip, and he was kinda rude.