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AT&T now offering home activation for iPhones sold online

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
In an unexpected move Thursday, AT&T began accepting online orders for Apple's iPhone 3G, allowing customers to have the device shipped to their doorstep for activation within the comfort of their own homes.

The exclusive US iPhone carrier is accepting orders from both new AT&T customers as well as existing AT&T and iPhone customers who may want to add an additional line of service to their monthly plans.

As part of the online buying experience, the carrier is offering customers the option of speaking live to an AT&T representative through an online chat. After selecting a specific iPhone model, shoppers can choose their rate plan and add features such as roadside assistance, VoiceDial, and Smart Limits for parental controls.

Overnight shipping is free with each order, and AT&T says shoppers have 8 days left to order an iPhone online and have it arrive in time for Christmas. The online ordering process provides for number porting and will include a credit check for new customers who must provide their social security number.

As such, each iPhone 3G ordered online will be tied to a users account before it ships but won't be fully functional until customers plug the handset into their computer and activate it through iTunes.

A move towards online sales on AT&T's part is surprising given that Apple has thus far chosen not to offer a similar service through its own website. The only way to purchase an iPhone 3G from the electronics maker is hit up one of its brick-and-mortar retail stores.



In neither case can iPhones be purchased as gifts for non family members due to the need for personal and number porting information required at the point of sale. The only way to safely give the gift of iPhone this holiday season is to purchase an iPhone Gift Card from Apple's online or retail stores.

However, it would appear that parents could potentially order an iPhone as a gift for their children through the online process.
post #2 of 39
I hope that Apple.com starts selling them this way!
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post #3 of 39
So from what I can tell, this still isn't like the first generation iPhone, correct? I mean, I still can't go into an Apple store, buy an iPhone, then take it home and activate it there myself?

That's what I was hoping for.
post #4 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s

That's what I was hoping for.

I wonder why
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post #5 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

So from what I can tell, this still isn't like the first generation iPhone, correct? I mean, I still can't go into an Apple store, buy an iPhone, then take it home and activate it there myself?

That's what I was hoping for.

It's not, in the sense that you can't buy an unregistered phone. If you order online, you get an unopened iPhone sent to your door, but the handset's hardware is linked to your personal information before it ships. This way you can't easily unlock it and export it for profit. You're committing to a two year service agreement when you submit your order.

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post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I wonder why

I don't want to commit to a contract. If I buy it directly from AT&T/Apple, I will have to sign up for a two-year contract as far as I know. I've told myself that I won't be strangled by contracts anymore.

I would LIKE to buy a 32GB iPhone 3G (if they release it in January), but buy it from eBay for less than retail with no strings attached (maybe even get in a MS Live Search discount if it's still around). I would then sell my 32GB iPod touch 2G to make up some of the cost.

Then I would "hopefully" be able to sign up for an AT&T account without any preconditions. I don't give a crap about T-Mobile.
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

I don't want to commit to a contract. If I buy it directly from AT&T/Apple, I will have to sign up for a two-year contract as far as I know. I've told myself that I won't be strangled by contracts anymore.

I would LIKE to buy a 32GB iPhone 3G (if they release it in January), but buy it from eBay for less than retail with no strings attached (maybe even get in a MS Live Search discount if it's still around). I would then sell my 32GB iPod touch 2G to make up some of the cost.

Then I would "hopefully" be able to sign up for an AT&T account without any preconditions. I don't give a crap about T-Mobile.

First of all you can't do this, 1 because you'll never find a 3G online for less than retail and 2 you can't activate a 3G for anything less than 2 years. I don't understand why people wait 6 months to get an iPhone 3G, you're just prolonging the time until you can upgrade again.
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

After selecting a specific iPhone model, shoppers can choose their rate plan and add features such as roadside assistance, VoiceDial, and Smart Limits for parental controls.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Voicedailing doesn't exist on the iPhone through any standard feature, so what is the article and/or AT&T talking about?
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by luke1robb View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Voicedailing doesn't exist on the iPhone through any standard feature, so what is the article and/or AT&T talking about?

Looking at the setup process it says:

VoiceDail is $4.99/month and it includes: VoiceDail, VoiceClip, & VoiceInfo...

Can someone explain all this to me? Trust me I'm a crazy Apple Fanboy Fanatic, and I am clueless on this.
post #10 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

I don't want to commit to a contract. If I buy it directly from AT&T/Apple, I will have to sign up for a two-year contract as far as I know. I've told myself that I won't be strangled by contracts anymore.

I would LIKE to buy a 32GB iPhone 3G (if they release it in January), but buy it from eBay for less than retail with no strings attached (maybe even get in a MS Live Search discount if it's still around). I would then sell my 32GB iPod touch 2G to make up some of the cost.

Then I would "hopefully" be able to sign up for an AT&T account without any preconditions. I don't give a crap about T-Mobile.

Yeah, keeping dreaming about that one. Every cell phone provider requires a contract, so I guess you won't be buying any cell phone. They need to make money too. Second, you will never find an unlocked iPhone 3G in any size for "less than retail" on eBay.

And you will never be able to sign up for an AT&T account without any preconditions with an unlocked iPhone. So keep living in dreamland.
post #11 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by luke1robb View Post

Looking at the setup process it says:

VoiceDail is $4.99/month and it includes: VoiceDail, VoiceClip, & VoiceInfo...

Can someone explain all this to me? Trust me I'm a crazy Apple Fanboy Fanatic, and I am clueless on this.

Possibly:
That voice dial is not internal to the phone... the "voice recognition" part is at AT&T ...
I had that service on my landline several years ago ... speed-dial a number that takes you to the phone companies "server"... then speak the name you want to call, and it would dial/forward you to it.

Kinda half-ass and not worth the 3.99 or whatever they charged for it... i think i dropped it after one month because it was SO convenient!
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post #12 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

I don't want to commit to a contract.

Who does, I was having fun with you.
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post #13 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by luke1robb View Post

First of all you can't do this, 1 because you'll never find a 3G online for less than retail and 2 you can't activate a 3G for anything less than 2 years. I don't understand why people wait 6 months to get an iPhone 3G, you're just prolonging the time until you can upgrade again.

1) Umm, it says on AT&T's website: "In the future, AT&T may offer a no-commitment option of $599 for 8GB and $699 for 16GB."
http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-pho...phone-info.jsp

2) I was talking about less than the $699 retail price, not the $299 price for the current 16GB 3G with a 2-year contract.

3) Why would I burden myself with a 16GB iPhone when I have a 32GB iPod touch? If I'm gonna make the move to replace my iPod and my current phone, I want to have at least the storage capacity of my current touch. And only a 32GB iPhone 3G would satisfy that.
post #14 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by hillstones View Post

Yeah, keeping dreaming about that one. Every cell phone provider requires a contract, so I guess you won't be buying any cell phone. They need to make money too. Second, you will never find an unlocked iPhone 3G in any size for "less than retail" on eBay.

And you will never be able to sign up for an AT&T account without any preconditions with an unlocked iPhone. So keep living in dreamland.

I never said anything about wanting an unlocked phone -- as I said, I don't give a crap about T-Mobile which is my only other option in the United States as far as I know.

I was simply talking about paying a higher upfront cost instead of being tied with the 2-year contract if I wanted to bolt or switch phones for some reason.
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In an unexpected move Thursday, AT&T began accepting online orders for Apple's iPhone 3G, allowing customers to have the device shipped to their doorstep for activation within the comfort of their own homes.

That's how I got my iPhone from Rogers in July.
post #16 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

I never said anything about wanting an unlocked phone -- as I said, I don't give a crap about T-Mobile which is my only other option in the United States as far as I know.

I was simply talking about paying a higher upfront cost instead of being tied with the 2-year contract if I wanted to bolt or switch phones for some reason.

Your iPhone is locked to your SIM card, not the other way around. You can use your AT&T iPhone SIM card with (almost) any GSM phone in the market even if you have signed up for a 2 year contract.

The only benefit for not signing a 2 year contract is if you plan to move out of the country within the 2 years. Even so, you can discontinue your contract for $175 (goes down $5 a month after the first year if I am not mistaken) and you save a lot money over buying an iPhone without a contract. So, if I were you I would pay the $199 or $299 for an iPhone with a contract and I decided to switch carrier or move out of the country I would pay the $175 cancelation fee ($699 - $299 - $175 = $225 saving over non-contract iPhone if it ever comes out).
post #17 of 39
Unless I'm mistaken, paying the cancellation fee will not get you an unlocked phone, though. So you save 225, but get a brick instead...

But ah, gifting subsidized phones. Nothing says I love you like: I've got you a third of a phone. I hope you like it, you'll have to pay the other two thirds.
post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Your iPhone is locked to your SIM card, not the other way around. You can use your AT&T iPhone SIM card with (almost) any GSM phone in the market even if you have signed up for a 2 year contract.

I switched the SIM card from my AT&T Nokia dumb-phone into a friend's iPhone 3G, and it worked fine. The iPhone (with my card) answered calls to my number, and dialed out with the proper caller-ID. AFAICT, this only works with another AT&T SIM (not, for example, a T-Mobile SIM).

As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I plan to buy an iPhone in January after MW09, cancel the service and pay the one-time fee, and then use the iPhone with my cheap voice-only plan. (Let's not get into why I want an iPhone without AT&T's data plan here.) The Nokia will sit on a shelf as a backup.

If I ever want to upgrade my plan in the future, I'll always have that option too.
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by foobar View Post

Unless I'm mistaken, paying the cancellation fee will not get you an unlocked phone, though. So you save 225, but get a brick instead...

But ah, gifting subsidized phones. Nothing says I love you like: I've got you a third of a phone. I hope you like it, you'll have to pay the other two thirds.

He wanted to be able to change phones not carriers. He can sell his locked iPhone on ebay for more than $what he paid for plus the cancelation fee or he can use turboSIM or similar tool to unlock it (I agree it is not as good as software unlock).
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

1) Umm, it says on AT&T's website: "In the future, AT&T may offer a no-commitment option of $599 for 8GB and $699 for 16GB."
http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-pho...phone-info.jsp

I seem to be having trouble finding that reference*. However, there is this:

"Can I activate iPhone 3G on GoPhone Prepaid service?
No. GoPhone Prepaid is not available for iPhone 3G at this time."

(emphasis added)

Hmmm.



Edit: * Just found it - you have to click on "Current AT&T Customer" (direct links don't seem to work)
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

I switched the SIM card from my AT&T Nokia dumb-phone into a friend's iPhone 3G, and it worked fine. The iPhone (with my card) answered calls to my number, and dialed out with the proper caller-ID. AFAICT, this only works with another AT&T SIM (not, for example, a T-Mobile SIM).

As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I plan to buy an iPhone in January after MW09, cancel the service and pay the one-time fee, and then use the iPhone with my cheap voice-only plan. (Let's not get into why I want an iPhone without AT&T's data plan here.) The Nokia will sit on a shelf as a backup.

If I ever want to upgrade my plan in the future, I'll always have that option too.

Are you sure? I tried my wife Prepaid AT&T SIM card on my 3G iPhone and didn't work! are you sure it was 3G iPhone? you sure you did not use turbSIM or unlocking tool? I tried many SIM cards (non AT&T) with my 3G iPhone and non worked. This is why they called it locked. The phone only works with one SIM card.

Edit: You are correct. It seems the 3G iPhone works with any AT&T SIM card but I don't know why it is not working with the prepaid one (even though many report them working). Maybe something wrong with mine.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Are you sure? I tried my wife Prepaid AT&T SIM card on my 3G iPhone and didn't work! are you sure it was 3G iPhone? you sure you did not use turbSIM or unlocking tool? I tried many SIM cards with my 3G iPhone and non worked. This is why they called it locked. The phone only works with one SIM card.

Perhaps it was because your SIM was prepaid?

Mine has a regular AT&T voice-only service plan attached, and I swapped it into a white 3G iPhone. Nothing was touched with *any* unlock or jail-break software. I called out to a different cell phone and caller-ID correctly displayed my number, and a call to my number rang on the iPhone.

I unfortunately could not experiment further, but that test confirmed what I have read elsewhere about 3G iPhones working with other AT&T SIMs, even without an associated data plan. (I didn't test this, but my understanding is that Visual Voicemail drops back to the standard voice-prompts when accessing messages.)
post #23 of 39
Sales must be slower than everyone thinks. This is not the move of a company that can not keep an item in stock.

I think they are getting a lot more competition on the phone side than they are on the iPod side. The HTC Touch Pro looks very cool.

Things like no cut & paste really make no sense to me.

-Matt
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post

Sales must be slower than everyone thinks. This is not the move of a company that can not keep an item in stock.

I think they are getting a lot more competition on the phone side than they are on the iPod side. The HTC Touch Pro looks very cool.

Things like no cut & paste really make no sense to me.

-Matt

I don't think so. Maybe it is more like AT&T stores are not selling as much iPhones as Apple Stores. This is not unusual since AT&T sells every other phone (including RIM phones) the same way and they already said that they will. I think it is more like they now have caught up with demand and can sell online. Sure, they are not selling as much iPhones today as they did 3 months ago when they first launched the iPhone. This is normal.
post #25 of 39
Great that AT&T is allowing you to purchase iPhones online and have them shipped to you... Only if they actually had them in Stock! Just went through the entire process online only to find out they are out of stock. Anyone have success today?
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post


Things like no cut & paste really make no sense to me.

-Matt

Speaking of Copy/Paste
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post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post

Sales must be slower than everyone thinks. This is not the move of a company that can not keep an item in stock.

I think they are getting a lot more competition on the phone side than they are on the iPod side. The HTC Touch Pro looks very cool.

Things like no cut & paste really make no sense to me.

-Matt

make sure you try the htc touch before you buy. i have a friend who bought one and tried very hard to like it for two months. he's back to thinking about buying out his contract just to get rid of it. your milage my vary...
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthawaii View Post

Sales must be slower than everyone thinks. This is not the move of a company that can not keep an item in stock.

I think they are getting a lot more competition on the phone side than they are on the iPod side. The HTC Touch Pro looks very cool.

Things like no cut & paste really make no sense to me.

-Matt

The lack of cut-and-paste is driving me up the wall. And, I've owned the iPhone since Day 1.

C'mon Apple, cut out this bu11$41t and get on with it. This should be so stupidly simple to do. At this point, I can only assume that Jobs is playing a nutty game of chicken.....
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

The lack of cut-and-paste is driving me up the wall. And, I've owned the iPhone since Day 1.

C'mon Apple, cut out this bu11$41t and get on with it. This should be so stupidly simple to do. At this point, I can only assume that Jobs is playing a nutty game of chicken.....


It's interesting, because I've never had any occasion to want copy/cut/paste on my phone, and I can't think of any time that I would. But maybe that's because I rarely send e-mails longer than a couple of lines from my phone. Is it in Mail that people find the feature so necessary? I hear about it all the time, and it's just never struck me personally as a glaring omission (though obviously it is for quite a few of you).

The one that baffles me is the lack of MMS (specifically, picture messaging). Even though I rarely have a need to send/receive picture messages, I can't think of a single other phone on the market that has a camera but doesn't support picture messaging. ALL of my friends' phones do, and quite often someone will send me a picture message while I'm out, which I then can't open, and I have to explain that my iPhone doesn't support that sort of thing. Then they laugh for a very long time.
post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

So from what I can tell, this still isn't like the first generation iPhone, correct? I mean, I still can't go into an Apple store, buy an iPhone, then take it home and activate it there myself?

That's what I was hoping for.

not going to happen. ATT signed up for this deal to get the subscribers. the old way of selling the phone meant it was too dang easy for someone to skip ATT altogether, unlock the phone etc.

now at least, ATT gets the first months service, activation fee and the $175 out of unlockers so they can cut the contract and keep the phone. not perfect but better than the goose egg they got before.

and I don't see Apple having this current option because of the trouble with linking into the ATT activation system to set up the phone to then ship out. cause ATT is not going to let them ship blank phones.

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post #31 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

I don't want to commit to a contract. If I buy it directly from AT&T/Apple, I will have to sign up for a two-year contract as far as I know. I've told myself that I won't be strangled by contracts anymore.


I would LIKE to buy a 32GB iPhone 3G (if they release it in January), but buy it from eBay for less than retail with no strings attached

yeah, right.

first it would likely unlocked cause that's how they make the big money. and I'd love to see the guy at ATT when you walk in with an unlocked phone wanting to get service. you better believe he's going to tell you no contract, no way. that is if he can even get the phone to work without accidentally bricking it.

second, you are not going to find a phone on ebay for less than the unsubsidized price which would be $399,499 or (if a 32GB phone actually happens) $599 because to keep the phone the original person had to cancel the contract and pay the ETF. that person will demand all money spent back.

third, I believe even the first round phones required a contract. all that talk of a $900 no contract phone is just that, talk.

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post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

1) Umm, it says on AT&T's website: "In the future, AT&T may offer a no-commitment option of $599 for 8GB and $699 for 16GB."
http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-pho...phone-info.jsp

you are missing the key phrases "In the future" which could mean 10 years from now when ATT doesn't have an exclusive contract anymore anyway

and "may" which means they may not.

but rest assured, this is not something that may happen in a good year or two at least.

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post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

That's how I got my iPhone from Rogers in July.

different country, different rules.

I believe it is in France that it is illegal to have a phone locked to a network so all the iPhones sold there have to ship unlocked. But even if you live in France and are taking the phone back to France, if you buy it in the US, you must activate it with ATT etc.

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post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Even so, you can discontinue your contract for $175 (goes down $5 a month after the first year if I am not mistaken)

nope. the law is that it has to go down every month after the first month.

ATT even gives you 30 days to try the phone and return it with no ETF. but if you wait until day 31 or want to keep the phone you pay the ETF

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post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

I seem to be having trouble finding that reference*. However, there is this:

"Can I activate iPhone 3G on GoPhone Prepaid service?
No. GoPhone Prepaid is not available for iPhone 3G at this time."

(emphasis added)

Hmmm.


'at this time' is not a guarantee it will happen or happen soon.

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post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Are you sure? I tried my wife Prepaid AT&T SIM card on my 3G iPhone and didn't work!

Prepaid Sim cards are listed in a different part of the network. I know this cause I know someone that tried to go to an Apple store and upgrade his account from pre-paid to contract to get the iphone. he couldn't do it there cause of the different listing. he had to go to an ATT store to have them cut his old plan, then manually retrieve and assign his number.

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post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

different country, different rules.

I believe it is in France that it is illegal to have a phone locked to a network so all the iPhones sold there have to ship unlocked. But even if you live in France and are taking the phone back to France, if you buy it in the US, you must activate it with ATT etc.

French iphones are sold simlocked --- but they have legislations that gives the consumer the right to obtain unlocking codes for free after certain period of time.

However, it is useless because these same countries don't have ETF rules --- so you are stuck to the 2 year contract no matter what happens.
post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

The lack of cut-and-paste is driving me up the wall. And, I've owned the iPhone since Day 1.

C'mon Apple, cut out this bu11$41t and get on with it. This should be so stupidly simple to do. At this point, I can only assume that Jobs is playing a nutty game of chicken.....

BTW, you can only buy one iPhone on the web per household. The iPhone is such an incredible and advanced device, if you want two or more on a family plan, you must physically get in your car, drive over to a store, and stand in line.

What a remarkable phone!
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post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

third, I believe even the first round phones required a contract. all that talk of a $900 no contract phone is just that, talk.

Nope... the original iphone was available without contract (I already had att service)... but the phone cost $600 if i recall correctly.
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