On June 29, the day the Apple iPhone goes on sale, AT&T-owned stores will close early at 4:30 p.m. and reopen at 6 p.m. to sell the iPhone for the first time. Some Apple stores I spoke with said they were not planning a pre-6 p.m. shutdown before the iPhone goes on sale. Still, other Apple stores did say they were going to shut down as they got ready for the onslaught of want-to-be iPhone customers to fill their stores.
At least one AT&T-owned store in the Boston area said it was going to be handing out bracelets to customers at 10 a.m. on June 29 when the store opened. The customer service representative I spoke with said that those customers could return at 6 p.m. and show their bracelets which would hold their place in line to buy the iPhone. That store was the exception. All the other Apple and AT&T-owned stores I spoke with said the iPhone would be sold on a first come first serve basis with no exceptions starting at 6 p.m. on June 29.
People wishing to be the first to get their hands on the iPhone will only be able to buy the iPhone at Apple stores and AT&T-owned stores. The Apple Web site will also be accepting orders on June 29. And AT&T says it will offer iPhones through its Web site some time in the future. Authorized AT&T resellers will not be selling the iPhone on June 29. Many resellers I spoke with said they expected iPhones sometimes in August.
One thing that was unclear from the Apple stores I spoke with was whether the Apple stores would be equipped to activate the iPhone for AT&T wireless services at the time of purchase. Apple didn't get back to me with the answer to this question.
Store hours for all the AT&T-owned stores have been extended to 10 p.m. and many Apple stores said they would also stay open late to accommodate iPhone customers.