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AT&T Gears Up for the iPhone 256

ElvaWSJ writes "In preparation for its exclusive launch of the cellphone industry's most anticipated device, AT&T is pulling out all the stops. It is adding about 2,000 temporary employees to cope with the influx of shoppers in the first few months. And it is planning for enhanced security to control the potentially large crowds and avoid theft of the phones, which will go for a steep $499 or $599, depending on memory capacity. Some sales agents expect to see people camping outside the night before. 'Apple, which plans to start selling the phone in all of its 162 retail stores on June 29, did not disclose any plans around training or staffing for the launch. Apple will also start selling the phone online on the launch date, but AT&T will first launch only in its stores ... AT&T, which is requiring iPhone shoppers to sign up for a 2-year contract, has not yet revealed the service fees it will charge iPhone customers.'"
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AT&T Gears Up for the iPhone

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  • by 93,000 ( 150453 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:42PM (#19599983)
    and why have I never heard of it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aichpvee ( 631243 )
      It must be something from Google since the little i is the same as in their customizable homepage, iGoogle.
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:03PM (#19600373) Journal
      Some Cisco thing, I think.
    • by i_like_spam ( 874080 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:56PM (#19601061) Journal
      I don't know, but it seems to have become a little bit smaller recently.

      Apple uses big-handed model to "shrink" iPhone []
    • I agree, it is overhyped.

      I have mostly positive to things to say about the iPhone, get annoyed at the naysayers predicting its doom for shortsighted geek reasons (same things were said about the iPod), but isn't all this overkill on at&t's part?

      I can see the iPhone being a good seller, I don't think it will be an albatross like the PS3, but I don't see it reaching Wii/iPod popularity until the 3rd or 4rd revision where the price comes down to about $299.
      • (same things were said about the iPod)

        People said the iPod was entering a mature market with more established, larger competitors whose products were universally cheaper and many of which had more features?

        Wow, I'd forgotten that. I feel so dumb for buying an iPod now.
    • by Leontes ( 653331 )
      Ok. All I need now are the reviews. We know that mossberg has one; I wager other influencial tech gurus also posess one at this point.

      The questions I want answered:

      Is it good?
      Does it keep its charge?
      Does it feel solid?
      Are there any happykilling bugs?
      Does it feel like its worth the money?

      Will these be answered before the 29th? How early do I have to show up at my local at&t to get one?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You know what I don't understand? How everyone is so excited to pay $499 or $599 for a CELLPHONE, but everybody bitches about paying $499 or $599 for a Playstation 3. One allows to you talk, surf the internet, and play music on a tiny screen; the other allows you to play Playstation games, surf the internet, watch blu-ray discs, upscale DVDs to 1080p, etc. Oh yeah - its easy to understand - hate Sony, love Apple. Am I the only one who can't comprehend spending that much money for a cell phone? I mean,
  • by SatanMat ( 757225 ) <> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:45PM (#19600033) Journal
    I'm a fan boy, I'll drink the Kool-Aid and ask for seconds but WE KNOW this... Let me know when we are going to get the pricing info.
    tell me when we get the contract terms, and let me know if I can get it pre-paid.

    please give me some real info, Mr. Ramero.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      There just isn't anything else to say about Apple's phone. The only thing surprising is how much money Apple is spending to get the constant press coverage or Slashdot type stories all over the Net.

      I got to check one out a week ago and after all the silly hype it was like "heh, yea this looks like what one would imagine a phone designed by Apple would be like". There simply isn't anything compelling about the phone. It sure as hell isn't something that would ever compel me to give up my current phone which
      • by Amouth ( 879122 )
        i know the feeling - and the fact that there is going to be a min of 2 year contract to get it (from a store manager) yea.. i think i will stick with my 8525 - atleast with WM5 i can write my own stuff for it without much issue
        • I will take my 8525 any day. I wish I new how that other poster got their 8525 for free... I left a $100 rebate on the table to keep using my cheaper unlimited data plan, but my total price ended up near $300.

          I haven't written anything for it yet... I haven't had any needs or wants that weren't already covered by free software. I AM looking forward to WM6 so that IE will support the full DOM.

          If the iPhone had 3G and a querty keyboard it would be in the running. But the 8525 works too well as a modem (u
        • there is going to be a min of 2 year contract to get it (from a store manager)
          Sounds like a catch-22: how can there be a wave of people to buy the iPhone when it's only available to those willing to enter long contracts and thus inelligible to buy until their current contractual servitude expires?

          Secondly, at $600 this phone is clearly not subsidized, so what's the excuse for the lengthy contract?

  • ... without giving money to AT&T. :-(
  • by us7892 ( 655683 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:51PM (#19600159) Homepage
    Not on sale at Apple stores?

    So, the user interface is so easy, that a just-hired AT&T customer service person can't screw it up. This user interface must be the best of all time!!
  • by 1800maxim ( 702377 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:51PM (#19600167)
    What is so special about the Apple phone that it needs "special" service fee? If it's a phone, and if it's using the same GSM spectrum in the same way as any other cellular GSM phone, it should cost the same as plans for their existing phones.

    Is data going to cost more? Again, will there be something different in the way this iPhone sends/receives data for such things as mobile internet? If not, why does it need special pricing?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sammy baby ( 14909 )
      The support relationship between AT&T and Apple is different from other carriers and their phone manufacturers. Most of the time, phone support is done in-house, so if I buy a Nokia from AT&T, I'm still getting support from AT&T. The iPhones are being supported directly by Apple.

      I'm not sure exactly what the fee arrangement is between AT&T and Apple, but the support arrangement is different enough to warrant special attention.
    • ATT&T/Cingular doesn't charge flat or per-useage data rates like the other carriers do. AT&T/Cingular instead charges you for a data plan that is based on your phone. In other words, the data plan for X model of Blackberry is different than the data plan for Y model of Treo. I assume this is because they're basically charging for the different services that different devices support. Me, I like Sprint's method better. $15 flat rate for unlimited data usage, more if you want additional "Vision" servi
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timster ( 32400 )
      My bet: it's not subsidized so the plans will be cheaper than all their other 2-year plans. It hasn't been announced yet so that it will be big news next Wednesday.

      Not that I'd place a whole ton of money on that, mind you, but based on their current strategy of announcing last-minute improvements, it makes sense. It wouldn't make sense to hold off this long if it was going to be more expensive.
    • by nvrrobx ( 71970 )
      My assumption would be that the pricing plan is nearly the same as a BlackBerry plan. A unlimited MEdia Net package for a standard phone is $19.95 a month, and the BlackBerry Unlimited plan is $44.95/mo, IIRC. These fees are in addition to your voice plan, and do not include MMS messages or SMS messages. (At least they didn't in January when I got a BlackBerry 8100 through Cingular.)

      Maybe they'll make it cheaper than the BlackBerry plan?
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:53PM (#19600197)
    Since the phones will only work on Cingular, and AT&T is the only seller, so they know where they all should be, would it be that easy to actually use the phone given that you managed to steal it? Truth is, if the phones can be reprogrammed that easily, then no iPhone will be safe. You'll be in more danger using one than wearing white ear buds.

    More likely, a stolen phone will be programmed to automatically take a picture of the person holding it, read their fingerprints on the touch screen, silently send out its GPS-derived position, and then use a Sony battery to burst into flames in the thief's hands and pockets!

    Seriously, if this thing doesn't have the latest security protection against theft and misuse, it's a waste of money.

  • Just a reminder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:54PM (#19600213)
    AT&T is the same company that cooperates with the government, installing multiple [] secret rooms [] used to filter (and store?) your Internet communications. Unfortunately, this isn't some kind of big-brother schizophrenic paranoia.. it's real.

    I'm an Apple fanboy myself, but for this reason I canceled my AT&T service and will not purchase an iPhone until they can be unlocked or subscribed with another provider.

    More here [] and here []. If you want to watch a Frontline about the domestic survellience program, check it out here [].
    • by NDPTAL85 ( 260093 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:36PM (#19600839)
      You can rest assured that MANY companies work for the federal government. So unless you are prepared to give up...well pretty much every item produced by any corporation today, you really need to give it a rest.

      By the way, until the people demand that the government not do this, then its got popular support.
  • I can understand there being a ton of excitement over this thing, since it's supposed to do to cellphones what the iPod did to MP3 players.


    The current state of cellphone service in the US is such that 90% of existing cellular users will not be able to buy this phone, because only a small handful of users will be nearing the end of their existing contracts. Furthermore, the high price of this phone is going to dissuade some people that were on the fence already. Furthermore...Cingular isn't exac
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      The current state of cellphone service in the US is such that 90% of existing cellular users will not be able to buy this phone, because only a small handful of users will be nearing the end of their existing contracts.

      A lot of the time if you want to buy a new expensive phone they will let you out of your current contract so long as it is for the purpose of signing an equivalent or more expensive contract.

      Generally speaking, the cellphone company is typically willing to take more of your money and extend

    • by Shihar ( 153932 )
      That pretty much sums up my opinion of the iPhone. Two year contract with AT&T (of all companies) and I get to $600+ on the actual phone? I personally think I can rough it out with my Creative Zen Vision M and cheap mobile phone. Yes, I will have to switch between the two when I want to go from talking on the phone to listening to music, but I think I can suffer through it. Not that I don't love AT&T throttling their networks and helping men in black suits hook up black boxes to their networks,
    • by gosand ( 234100 )
      The current state of cellphone service in the US is such that 90% of existing cellular users will not be able to buy this phone, because only a small handful of users will be nearing the end of their existing contracts.

      The people who will camp out overnight to buy a damn phone won't care. They will probably just sign up for another contract.

      I was about 2.5 years into my 2 year contract, and even if I was able to get the iPhone (I am on Verizon) I wouldn't have waited. Why? I don't care. I got a prett

    • The current state of cellphone service in the US is such that 90% of existing cellular users will not be able to buy this phone, because only a small handful of users will be nearing the end of their existing contracts.

      If you're willing to pay $500 for an iPhone, it's possible you're willing to pay $100-$200 extortion money to get out of your existing cellular contract early.

      • Personally, I haven't resigned my contract (with Verizon) since it ended. I have been waiting for the iPhone to be released. Same thing with my girlfriends contract, it ended almost 7 months ago. She wants to play with the iPhone before she asks me to get it for her.

  • by Ankou ( 261125 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:59PM (#19600289)
    As a former Henrico County Citizen, I can tell you first hand that 2000 extra employees will not be enough []!
  • Stupid Data Plans (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lord_sarpedon ( 917201 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:02PM (#19600353)
    The iPhone is pushing in the direction that the cell phone industry should have moved a long time ago. Limitations now are not largely technological. And yet I somehow doubt that, the day of release, they will suddenly be awestruck at the recognition of their horrible, shameful pricing plans. Sure, data plans are poised to become much more main stream, but carriers will keep making arbitrary distinctions between voice and 'data' just because they can, and it will be a cold day in hell when we start paying a flat rate for unfettered wireless access as we do with the internet. Their customers are sheep. It's that that will most hinder the adoption and spread of anything iPhone-like... Perhaps when the day comes that Apple bundles a VoIP client the industry will finally feel know, some kind of competition that forces them to adopt sane policies. I refuse to pay for cell phone service until that happens.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      In Japan, the cell phone plans are for a flat amount of bandwidth. Doesn't matter if it is data, voice, whatever. This does have its drawbacks, however. Almost no one calls in Japan anymore. Because text messaging drains so much less bandwidth than calling, thats all anyone ever does. Admittedly it is becoming more common here in the US as well, but at least we are willing to call someone on occation.
    • by Shihar ( 153932 )
      If Apple wanted to make the market 'feel fear' it would have had an open phone to begin with instead of tying itself by the balls to AT&T. Nokia seems to be able to sell open phones without getting in bed with a cell phone company. I fail to see why Apple can't either.
    • Nokia phones like the N95 already support SIP out of the box without any extra software. Most other PDA style phones support VoIP apps generally as long as your not looking at Palm.
  • 2 year contract? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:03PM (#19600363) Homepage Journal
    For the normal customer looking for the cheapest phone, a two year contract is often required. However, I have in the past been able to pay $50 and get a one year contract. Why do I do this? To prevent the contract hell in which one loses a phone after the first year, then has to sign another two year contract to get another phone, and so on. In any case, it saves on the insurance which would be at least $50 for the year.

    I hope that ATT is going to use this opportunity to improve it's reputation for customer service. However, I suspect that they will simply create innovative new ways to force people into contracts they don't want. I was kind of up on this iPhone thing, I don't really have a problem with ATT, but as we get closer, I don't know if ATT isn't going to return to it's scumbag roots.

    • by Knara ( 9377 )
      Most carriers have pay as you go or month-to-month services as well, but they don't advertise it. Granted, you typically pay more for the phone, and often a little more for a month-to-month flat fee than a 2-year, but (at least in my mind) it's worth it to not be stuck in a contract.
      • Typically you have to pay a lot more for the phone and have to buy it from them. I haven't found anyone willing to just sell me a SIM and provide my own equipment, even if my equipment is identical to what they're trying to sell me.
        • by Knara ( 9377 )
          I'm told that T-Mobile are happy to let you do this, though I haven't yet tried it myself. I guess the downside is that your coverage area isn't as broad as with other carriers. Frankly I don't mind paying extra for the month-to-month (I actually have a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phone right now, I rarely use more than the standard $30/mo "top up" on it, and frequently go 45+ days without putting money into the account) and for the phone, so long as I like the phone and expect to use it for a year or two
          • I have had month-to-month plans with a number of people now, for years.

            I love the pricing (very low, or it can be with the right plan). But what sucks, is that so far almost no plans support real data (like using the phone as a modem or anything else but the integrated browser which is horrid) and generally you can't get the plan extended internationally, even if your phone supports international GSM.

            I'm buying an iPhone, knowing the plans will cost a lot more but also looking forward to the increased flex
            • by Knara ( 9377 )
              AFAIK you'll still be SOL on the international thing, since they don't have any international carriers (does AT&T/Cingular have non-assrapingly expensive coverage outside of the US?). And you can get a cell data modem for so much less. The iPhone really seems like overkill for you if you're just seeking to have certain features and are willing to get a contract anyway.
        • I moved to the US 6 months ago, bringing my Australian phone. T-mobile were happy to sell me a SIM card, and add it to an existing contract account. No issues, no complaints, no cajoling necessary.
          • Well that's a start, though "add to an existing contract" is less than ideal. Last time I bought a phone T-Mobile wasn't viable in my area; I now live in a more metro area, so it may be worth another look.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, the data plans will cost more than say buying a Treo on Verizon, but this is Apple you morons.

    The data will be better. The packets will be shinyer and better designed. The ICMP packets will be way hipper than the ICMP packets that Pocket PCs use. The bits themselves, individually forged and polished by the finest craftsmen in the world. In individual leather pouches.

    So yeah, it costs more. But it's worth more, because the web pages that you view with Apple are BETTER than the shitty ones that all
  • by JamesRose ( 1062530 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:42PM (#19600917)
    I live in the UK, and when I walk into a mobile phone shop, I get shown a selection of phones, all of which work on every tarriff (orange, o2, virgin etc.) and I look, and a nice helper comes up and explains all the features, and after a lonhg explanation I choose a phone I would like. After this, we sit down and I say how much I will use the phone, and the sales assistant will say, well, you could go for pay and go, and that means the phone will cost you £150 (average high end example) and that I can top up any time I want and the amount I top up will give me so many minutes. He will also say you can get this phone on contract, and will present me with several 1 or 2 year contracts for this phone ranging from £15-£50, and of course minutes, and off-peak minutes and data transfer provided will vary. However, what will not happen is when they ask me if I want a contract, they will never charge me for that phone, that's how it works, the phones don't cost them much to produce, and they are gaurenteed your income for 1-2 years so they don't charge for the phone, in absolute extreme cases they will charge £50 for a top end phone on a short contract. Does that really not happen in America? Or does it work the same way for everyone but Apple in America? I mean $600 on a phone where you are probably paying out $75 a month for 2 years anyway?!
    • by Knara ( 9377 )

      The iPhone is, sort of, an exception to that plan.

      Typically in the US, you see ads of ridiculously low priced phones (up to and including free) if you sign up for a certain contract of a predefined length. Phones are routinely crippled on some carriers, and by and large people don't move from carrier to carrier with the same phone (though by law now they are required to let you transfer phone numbers).

      It's very possible to get pay-as-you-go phones for ~100$ or so, though those too are often linked to a c

    • by Renraku ( 518261 )

      Ok, here's how it goes.

      I signed up with Sprint for a 2 year contract. Near the end of the second year, my phone died. I was able to get a credit towards the purchase of a new phone by adding an extra year, though.

      Anyway..when I got my first phone, it was $100 + 2 year contract. It wasn't even top of the line. More of mid-road.

      Second phone was about $150 + 1 year contract and only slightly better than the first phone. The kicker? They still sell the first phone for $100 + 2 years.

      The only phones
    • by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Friday June 22, 2007 @12:20PM (#19609681)
      In the US, there are a variety of ways to shop for a phone.

      - The Mall Kiosk of Doom -
      In the hallowed halls of unfettered, unashamed, pillaging, raping commerce, there are these odd booths out in the middle of the walkway. Mind you, this isn't some backwater open-air market. This is a Shopping Mall(tm). Real Stores(tm) are located down either side of the walkway. Only scammers, con artists, and seasonal vendors use the dreaded "kiosks" that impede traffic. In the category of both "scammer" and "con artist" falls the Mall Kiosk of Doom Cellular Phone Vendor. Most malls (due to these exact vendors) now have policies that require kiosk employees to stay within their kiosk area, not roaming around bothering the passers by. But some malls don't have this limitation, and the MKDCPV will approach you, rather than waiting for you to walk unwittingly into their lair. Either way, once you're caught, your life is forfeit.

      These kiosks are always run by a specific network provider, and have all the soul to match (none at all, of course, just an IOU taped to the wall, signed by the devil himself). The drooling lackeys they employ are the new breed of "burger flippers". Every other word they say is "fuck", and also "dude". When they're not talking to customers (and even when they are) they simply repeat "fuck dude fuck dude fuck..." until you walk away. Sometimes there's one with a few more braincells, enough to replace the word "fuck" with some sort of preprogrammed message installed by the network provider they work for. They will try to get you to sign your name to the list of recipients of the IOU on the wall. This involves a multi-year contract and a phone. Sometimes the phone is free. Most of the time, they "mess up" and charge you for it, or "forget to tell you about a service fee" and charge you for it, or they're "out of stock and you'll have to buy a phone" and charge you for it. In any event, your wallet is going to be raped and pillaged (remember, you're in a Shopping Mall(tm) - all your money are belong to us!) and your soul will belong to the devil (the CEO of a cell-telecom).

      - The Network Provider Store (a.k.a. The Bowels of Hell) -
      You don't have the chance of accidental entrapment like with the Mall Kiosk of Doom, but these stores operate the same way. The help here tends to be a bit more "clueful", usually not drooling, and usually curtailing their use of "fuck" and "dude" while customers are present. Depending on the network provider, some of these guys are actually helpful. Not AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint, but the smaller carriers seem to hire genuinely helpful people. You might have a good experience here. But not if the sign out front says AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

      Generally, they have a lot of accessories and a decent stock of phones. They have all the plans from the vendor they represent, top to bottom. But they'll deny that you can buy a phone without a plan. And they'll deny that you can buy a plan without a phone. In the minds of these guys, plans include phones, and phones are not available separately. Period. Pay up, bitch.

      - The Faceless Web -
      All network providers have a website where you can buy a phone without having to remove your cheeto-covered ass from its resting place. They work like stripped-down versions of the network providers' stores without the salesguy sticking his nose into your butt and his hand into your wallet. Maybe it's just me, but web servers seem to be a great deal more polite than salesmen.

      - The Independent -
      These guys are a dying breed. They sell phones. They sell plans from more than one network provider. They sell network provider plan+phone packages. They make their own plan+phone packages. They'll let you trade plans with another customer or act as a proxy plan buyer to get you the phone you want. These guys would sell a guy a Treo, sign him up for an AT&T "iPhone" plan and turn around and sell the iPhone to someone that wants it, but wants a T-Mobile plan.

  • ...a phone that is locked to one network?

    Seriously, people, monopolies are bad. Sure, it looks like a nice device, but I sure as hell wouldn't get one until I can shove any company's sim card in it and be sure that it will work.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus