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SoftBank to launch iPhone 3G in Japan at 7 am Friday

Japanese iPhone carrier SoftBank has announced that it will begin selling the iPhone 3G at 7 a.m. on Friday at its store in the Harajuku district of Tokyo. Other SoftBank stores and major retailers will begin offering the phone at noon. The carrier recently announced its service plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G; plans will start at 7,280 yen (around $68), including unlimited data-transmission usage, while the phone itself will run 23,040 yen (around $215) over 24-months for the 8GB model, and 34,560 yen (around $322) for the 16GB version.

Telcel announces iPhone 3G pricing, plans for Mexico

Telcel has announced (Translated link) its service plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G in Mexico. Telcel is offering three different plans for the iPhone in Mexico, and as with other international carriers, it is pricing the iPhone 3G hardware based on which plan the customer chooses for his/her 24-month agreement. Plan iPhone I will cost 459MXN (~$44) per month, and will include 200 minutes, 100MB of data, and 100 SMS texts, while Plan iPhone II will run 599MXN (~$58) monthly, and will include 300 minutes, 150MB of data, and 150 texts. The Plan iPhone III will cost 799MXN (~$77) a month, and will offer 400 minutes, 200MB of data, and 200 SMS texts. Additional minutes will be charged at a rate of 1.15MXN (~$0.11) per to Telcel and land phones, or 3.45MXN (~$0.33) per minute to other operators’ phones, while additional data will cost 0.04MXN per KB, and each additional text will run 0.85MXN (~$0.08).

With the Plan I, the 8GB iPhone 3G costs 3,419MXN (~$331) and the 16GB model 4,689MXN (~$454), while with the Plan II the two run 2,159MXN (~$209) and 3,419MXN, respectively. Finally, with the Plan III, the 8GB iPhone 3G sells for 889MXN (~$86), while the 16GB model sells for 2,159MXN. All prices include 15% VAT. Telcel will launch the iPhone in Mexico on July 11. [Thanks, Bernardo]

Apple confirms 8 am iPhone 3G launch, posts ‘Where to Buy’ guide

One week after AT&T announced it would be opening its retail stores at 8 a.m. local time on July 11 for the launch of the iPhone 3G, Apple has confirmed that its own retail stores will do the same. A new message on Apple’s retail website reads “iPhone 3G Coming July 11 at 8 a.m.” In addition, the company has set up a “Where to Buy” page for the iPhone, featuring links to find the nearest Apple retail store or AT&T location, a list of what customers should bring with them to purchase and activate the phone, and a brief overview of how to get their data ready to make syncing to the iPhone 3G easier.

TIM reveals iPhone 3G rates, pricing for Italy

Telecom Italia Mobile has revealed (Translated link) its subscription plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G in Italy. Like many other international iPhone carriers, TIM will price the iPhone 3G based on which monthly plan the customer chooses. Macity reports the company will offer five different plans, ranging in price from €30 (~$47) to €200 (~$315) a month. The iPhone starter plan (€30) will offer 1GB of data, and no built-in voice minutes or texts — they will run €15 cents each. For €50 (~$79) a month, the iPhone 250 plan will offer the same 1GB of data, 250 minutes, 100 SMS messages, while the iPhone 600 plan, which runs €80 (~$126) a month, will offer 600 minutes, 200 SMS, and 1GB of data. The iPhone 900 plan is priced at €110 (~$173) a month and includes 900 minutes, 900 texts, and 1GB of data, while the iPhone unlimited plan will run €200 (~$315) a month and will include 5000 minutes, 1500 SMS, and 5GB of data. The iPhone 3G hardware will be priced at €199 (~$313) for the 8GB model and €269 (~$423) for the 16GB with the starter plan, €189 (~$298) and €259 (~$408) with the 250 plan, €149 (~$235) and €219 (~$345) with the 600 plan, and €99 (~$156) and €169 (~$266) with the 900 plan. The 8GB model will be free with the unlimited plan, while the 16GB model will cost €69 (~$109). It is unclear how long the associated contract will last. TIM previously announced that it will sell non-subsidized iPhone 3G units to pre-paid customers for €499 (~$786) for the 8GB model and €569 (~$896) for the 16GB model.

In a separate report, Macity claims (Translated link) that early Italian iPhone sales will require at-home activation through iTunes, as the carriers’ retail stores are not currently equipped to handle in-store activation. Both TIM and Vodafone will reportedly offer in-store activation on the iPhone 3G at the customer’s request as soon as their retail outlets are capable of doing so.

Canadian iPhone 3G displays revealed

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Two in-store iPhone 3G displays for Canadian stores have been revealed in pictures from the displays’ installation manuals. The iPhone 3G will be displayed in Rogers Wireless and Fido retail outlets either on a white, iPhone 3G-specific pedestal display, or in a more traditional tabletop circular white base. The manuals also feature the first real-world pictures of the iPhone 3G Dock, which was previously spotted on Apple’s website. The new Dock features less plastic on the sides and front of the recessed docking well than the original iPhone Dock, and also features slightly different speaker and microphone holes to correspond with the new bottom design of the iPhone 3G.

iPhone 3G queue forms in NYC, display details emerge

The first iPhone 3G line formed over the weekend outside Apple’s flagship retail store on 5th Avenue in New York City. This same store, known for its glass cube entryway, was the location of the first line for the original iPhone last June. The first five people in line are part of an environmental activist group and are hoping to use their places in line to gain publicity for their cause.

In addition, large, full-window iPhone 3G displays have begun arriving at Apple retail stores. Similar to the in-store displays for the first-generation iPhone, the new fixtures consist of a display which resembles a giant iPhone 3G, running a demo of the phone’s software in front of a cardboard backdrop.

O2 briefly opens, closes iPhone 3G pre-orders [updated]

O2 in the United Kingdom briefly began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 3G on its website this morning, before stopping the sales minutes after they began. Customers who pre-registered their interest in the new handset through O2’s website were told this morning that the iPhone 3G was available for pre-order online, only to be referred to a customer service line after filling out a form. The Register reports that reader Carol Dew called the number, “only to be advised that they couldn’t take telephone orders until Friday, and they were very sorry for the inconvenience, but they had 2000 other people just like me calling them this morning, and their managers had advised them that the site was overwhelmed. Because they didn’t anticipate the demand. But when I asked how many iPhones were in stock, since I was afraid they’d run out before I could order mine, I was told that they’d asked customers to ‘register their interest’ on the website (did that; hence getting the text this morning). And that every time someone registered their interest, they ordered in an iPhone for them. Yet they didn’t anticipate today’s demand.” Interestingly, O2’s pre-order announcement indicated that orders would be delivered by courier on July 11, raising questions as to whether the handsets would have arrived unbricked and activated, or whether Apple has plans to allow at-home unbricking and activation in some countries.

Update: O2 has updated its iPhone 3G page with a message that says, “Due to huge demand for the iPhone 3G, we’re currently out of stock online. Come back on 10 July for more information.” [via MDN]

Apple posts original iPhone to iPhone 3G upgrade how-to

Apple has posted a new support article explaining how users can replace their original first-generation iPhone with an iPhone 3G using the same carrier. The article, titled “How to replace an original iPhone with an iPhone 3G,” says, “If you follow these steps to backup your original iPhone first, and then restore the backup to your iPhone 3G, your saved SMS messages, email accounts, photos, notes, and other personal settings will be present on your iPhone 3G.” According to the six-step process, US-based iPhone customers will not need to swap the SIM cards from the original to the iPhone 3G, while users in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, and France can use their original SIM with the new handset. Apple will launch the iPhone 3G in multiple countries worldwide on July 11.

German iPhone early adopters angered by upgrade penalty

A new German T-Mobile iPhone upgrade policy has angered some first-generation iPhone owners, according to a new report. The company has announced that first-gen iPhone users looking to upgrade to the iPhone 3G will be forced to pay a €15 ($24) penalty for each month left on the prior iPhone’s contract, despite the fact that many paid the full €399 ($626) amount for the phone last year. In addition, reports German site Wiwo.de (Translated link), there may also be a “port charge” added on to the penalty. AT&T in the United States has announced that it will allow current iPhone users to upgrade to the iPhone 3G at subsidized $199-$299 pricing, partially because the original iPhone was not sold with a subsidy. In Germany, however, T-Mobile began offering first-generation iPhones in April for as little as €99 with a 24-month contract, creating a situation where some iPhone users paid full price for the handset, while some did in fact receive the phone at a subsidized price. [via MacNN]

DoCoMo still interested in offering iPhone

Ryuji Yamada, president of Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, recently suggested that the company is still interested in making a deal with Apple to offer the iPhone in Japan alongside previously announced Japanese carrier SoftBank. “It’s common sense that Apple wants to sell as many iPhones worldwide as possible and to customize it would be difficult,” Yamada, said in an interview. “Our stance on the iPhone remains flexible.” DoCoMo, which has been in negotiations with Apple to carry the iPhone, “hasn’t given up yet,” according to a statement made by Yamada on June 23. SoftBank will launch the iPhone 3G in Japan on July 11.

Telia revises iPhone service plans for Sweden

Following complaints from potential customers regarding the voice, text, and data limits on its previously announced iPhone 3G service plans, Swedish iPhone carrier Telia has revised its service offerings for the soon to be released handset. Instead of modifying the plans for the iPhone 3G, the carrier has chosen to allow users to pick from its existing plans for other mobile phones, then add a 199 SEK (roughly $33) unlimited data option. It remains to be seen whether other international iPhone carriers facing public scrutiny over their service plan pricing, such as Rogers in Canada, will follow suit and modify their plans to meet customer demand.

Optus reveals iPhone 3G plans, pricing

Optus, one of three Australian iPhone carriers, has revealed its plans and pricing for the iPhone 3G. Unlike most other carriers, Optus is offering the iPhone 3G to subscribers on a monthly payment basis, in lieu of taking one large upfront payment for the handset. The company will offer the iPhone 3G with two different lines of contract service plans. The company’s ‘yes’ Cap Plans offer a set amount of data, a credit amount used towards calls and texts which is much higher than the minimum monthly payment, and a national Call Rate of A$0.47 to A$0.35, depending on which Cap Plan the customer selects. Likewise, the monthly payment the customer must pay towards the cost of the iPhone 3G hardware varies based on the plan selected. All texts up to 160 characters cost A$0.25, which is taken out of the credit amount included with the plan. In addition, all ‘yes’ Cap Plans include voicemail, free 20 minutes calls to other Optus GSM mobiles in Australia from 8pm to midnight 7 nights a week, and free 5 minute calls to numbers on the same account.

Google launches Google Talk for iPhone

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Google has released a new web-based version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. Google Talk for iPhone requires the application to be open in the Safari browser in order to receive instant messages. When a user navigates away to another browser window or application, his/her status is automatically changed to “unavailable,” and the session will be restarted when the page is reopened. To access Google Talk for iPhone and iPod touch, simply navigate to google.com/talk from the device.

Apple contacts BusinessWeek writer over iPhone 3G article

Following a posting yesterday expressing confusion and disappointment over AT&T’s iPhone 3G plans and pricing, and its decision to charge separately for SMS text messaging, BusinessWeek writer Arik Hesseldahl was contacted by Apple regarding the article. Hesseldahl writes, “So Apple called today, a little annoyed with my portrayal yesterday of AT&T’s iPhone pricing.” Hesseldahl defends his position on the non-inclusion of SMS messaging, saying, “Is this a mistake on AT&Ts part? I certainly think so.” He goes on to suggest that the extra charges for messaging will lead to greater adoption of native and web-based instant messaging solutions, while noting that AT&T is not alone in its need to streamline its wireless pricing plans to make them easier to understand and more convenient for consumers.

Apple orders 50 million NAND chips for iPhone?

According to a report, Samsung is warning its other customers that supply of NAND flash chips will be cut sharply in July thanks to an Apple order for 50 million 8Gb-equivalent chips, mostly for use in iPhones. DigiTimes reports that supply will also be affected due to capacity reductions made by Samsung in April and May in an attempt to reduce oversupply. Despite Apple’s large order, many industry insiders are still in doubt about its impact, noting that Apple already purchased 25 million 8Gb-equivalent NAND flash chips from Samsung in June, and stating that future Apple orders will depend largely on iPhone sales.

O2 to launch iPhone 3G at 7 a.m., limited one per person

O2 will officially launch the iPhone 3G in the United Kingdom on July 11 at 7:00 a.m. local time, and has also imposed a sales limit of one-per-person on the new handset. “Orders will be placed on a first come first served basis,” O2 said in a text message to customers explaining the need for the sales limitation. “We will be writing to you again before the 11th with details about how you can place your order.”

Intel disappointed with next-gen iPhone snub

Speaking at a press briefing to honor Intel’s 40th anniversary, Patrick Gelsinger, general manager of the company’s digital enterprise group, expressed disappointment over Apple’s decision to eschew Intel’s Atom platform in future phones and digital media devices in favor of custom chips designed in-house with the help of recently-acquired P.A. Semi. “Apple chose not to take that road map at their next generation of platform,” said Gelsinger. “That was disappointing.” In June Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed in an interview that P.A. Semi would build chips for both the iPhone and iPod, putting to rest speculation over why Apple acquired the chipmaker. Earlier reports, including one based on a quote from an Intel executive, had suggested that Apple planned to use an Atom processor inside an as-yet-unreleased deluxe iPhone.

T-Mobile lists iPhone plans & pricing for Netherlands

T-Mobile has announced its pricing and service plans (Translated link) for the iPhone 3G in the Netherlands. The carrier is offering three different iPhone monthly plans, all including unlimited data, unlimited use of T-Mobile hotspots, and Visual Voicemail, and will price the iPhone 3G based on which monthly plan the customer chooses for his/her two-year commitment. The €29.95 (~$47) a month plan includes 150 airtime minutes, 150 SMS messages, and brings the iPhone 3G’s pricing to €79.95 (~$126) for the 8GB model and €159.99 (~$253) for the 16GB model. With the €44.95 (~$71) plan, which includes 300 minutes and 300 SMS texts, the 8GB iPhone sells for €1 (~$1.60), while the 16GB model goes for €79.95. Finally, the €64.95 (~$103) a month plan includes 500 minutes and 500 texts. With that plan, the 8GB model sells for €1, while the 16GB iPhone 3G costs only €19.95 (~$32). Extra minutes or texts are priced at €0.25 (~$0.40) per, no matter which of the three plans a customer chooses. T-Mobile will launch the iPhone 3G in the Netherlands on July 11.

AT&T iPhone 3G plans: $70-$130 single, $130-$360 family

AT&T has announced its AT&T Nation and AT&T FamilyTalk plans for iPhone 3G. Its AT&T Nation plans, meant for individual users, range in price from $69.99 to $129.99 a month, and include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, and unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. The $69.99 a month plan includes 450 anytime minutes, 5000 night & weekend minutes, and any overages will cost $0.45 per minute. With the $89.99 a month plan, users receive 900 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and an overage rate of $0.40 per minute, while the $109.99 a month plan provides 1350 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and an additional minute charge of $0.35 per minute. Finally, AT&T is offering an Unlimited individual iPhone 3G plan for $129.99 a month, which provides unlimited minutes in addition to the unlimited data and Visual Voicemail mentioned above.

AT&T’s FamilyTalk iPhone plans cover two lines and include unlimited data, Visual Voicemail, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, and unlimited nights & weekends. The $129.99 a month plan provides 700 shared anytime minutes and additional minutes for $0.45, the $149.99 plan offers 1400 shared anytime minutes and additional minutes for $0.40, while the $169.99 plan offers 2100 shared anytime minutes and an addition minutes rate of $0.35. Plans are also available at $209.99, $259.99, and $359.99 points, and include 3000, 4000, and 6000 shared anytime minutes, respectively. Each additional line added to any of the above FamilyTalk plans runs an additional $39.99 per month. An Unlimited FamilyTalk plan will be available for $259.99 a month for two lines, with each additional line costing $129.99 a month.

In a notable change from AT&T’s prior plans, SMS Text messaging is now always sold at an additional charge, and will cost individuals $5 per month for 200 messages, $15 per month for 1500 messages, or $20 per month for Unlimited. For FamilyTalk plans, SMS can be added for $30 per month for unlimited texts, or for $0.20 per message.

iPhone 3G See What’s New video, summarized in one page

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For those of our readers who don’t have access to video playback, or just want a fast summary of all of the iPhone 3G’s new features, we have created this: a summary of the freshly posted iPhone 3G See What’s New video, complete with images. Inside, you can learn about the iPhone 3G’s “dramatically improved audio,” the system’s GPS “Tracking Mode,” the collection of Restrictions, and much more.

While the video doesn’t reveal many secrets, you may find the complete feature list interesting. Click on the title or comments bar below for the full scoop, and see our iPhone 3G First Look for many additional details.

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