When Steve Jobs took the stage early last week and unveiled the iPhone 3G to the world, we were given the impression that you would not be able to walk out of an AT&T or Apple Store without having the handset activated. As it turns out, this isn’t exactly the case.
With the original Apple iPhone, buyers were able to walk out the store without any sort of AT&T contract in tow, activating the phone at their leisure when they got home. It was through this procedure that unlocked iPhones started popping up in Canada and the rest of the world. We thought that Apple and AT&T were going to curb this practice by making you activate in-store with the iPhone 3G.
Well, you can still do that, but you can also walk away from the store and activate the iPhone 3G yourself too. The caveat is that before you leave the store, you’ll need to sign an agreement wherein you promise to go through the activation process within 30 days. Don’t try to run away from this agreement either, because the Apple (or AT&T store) will make a note of the IMEI number. This way, AT&T can keep tabs on which iPhone has been purchased (and which have not yet been activated).