Will July 11 be a nightmare for 3G iPhone buyers?

Remember last June when long lines of people snaked around Apple and AT&T company-owned stores waiting to purchase the iPhone? Well some are predicting that the wait for the 3G iPhone could be even worse. Last year, buyers could take the iPhone home to activate it. This year, the 3G iPhone will have to be activated before consumers leave the store--a potential retail wrinkle that could make lines longer and move slower. The reason for the in-store activation is to stop the flow of inactivated iPhones to the black market. Of course, AT&T has said that it will offer an unlocked version of the 3G iPhone "in the future," but it will be costly. An 8-gigabyte unit will cost $599, and a 16-gig model will cost $699--or $400 more than the subsidized version. 

To help speed the process, AT&T is urging buyers to be ready with all the necessary paperwork-- or better yet, visit the store ahead of time to get an advance credit check. For more tips, watch this AT&T video on how to get 'iReady.  

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