Chicago (IL) - The general consensus among analysts has been that the upcoming 3G iPhone will go on sale in June, but so far there has been no hard evidence or strong leads to support these voices - until today. Two separate reports provide the dates for U.S. and European 3G iPhone shipping dates. Unlike before, today we did not receive just speculation - but the content of an internal AT&T memo sent to retail staff.
The memo, leaked to Boy Genius Report, suggests that the 3G iPhone will arrive in AT&T stores in or after the third week of June, possibly at the end of the month. The company memo has been sent to all AT&T retail staff members to deal with vacation schedules. The message asks employees to schedule vacations before June 15 or after July 12, hinting to an "exciting" product launch.
"Last year at this time we asked that all vacations be scheduled before June 15 or after July 15, to ensure adequate store staffing and to give everyone an equal opportunity to benefit from an exciting product launch," says the memo.
AT&T goes on to inform retail staff that it will provide "an exciting summer promotional launch", anticipating "heavier than normal customer traffic"
"To ensure proper staffing during this period, sales personnel planning to take approved time off are encouraged to schedule their vacations before June 15 or after July 12 to participate in the heavy selling period," the memo states. AT&T explicitly says it won’t approve vacation between June 15 and July 12.
Boy Genius Report published a similar leaked AT&T document a year ago, ahead of the iPhone launch. In that document, AT&T requested its retails staff to refrain from vacation between June 15 through July 15, almost the exact vacation blackout period as the one announced this year. Given the fact that the iPhone went on sale on June 29, presuming that history would repeat itself, we could be looking to exactly the same date as the first-gen iPhone went on sale - June 29.
The leaked AT&T memo is the strongest indication yet that the iPhone will in June, conveniently one full year after the first iPhone hit the AT&T and Apple Stores. If this is true, it would prove wrong all previous reports, which called for an availability coinciding with the Steve Jobs keynote at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). This year’s WWDC will run from June 9 to June 13 in San Francisco. Steve Jobs is scheduled to perform another Hollywood-style keynote on the first day of the conference. Although there were some voices who claimed that he will announce on the June 9 immediate availability of the device, it’s clear now that we’re looking for June 29.
It seems that the U.S. will once again have the privilege of setting the stage for the new iPhone, as it was the case with the first-gen device. Although many thought that Europe will get 3G model the same day as the U.S., that may not be the case, according to an article published by the New York Times. According to the report, Apple will roll-out the handset in several European countries by August, "the time when most Europeans go on vacation and would presumably have a greater need for the device’s advanced Internet browser function."
Besides the UK, Germany, France, Austria and Ireland were the only European countries that received the first-gen handset. The 3G model will also make its way into the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Italy, courtesy of Vodafone. Apple will also change its distribution strategy in Europe, allowing multiple iPhone carriers within a country to sell the phone: Apparently, Italy will be a test market, in which Vodafone will be offering iPhone next to Telecom Italica, which officially confirmed that it will be selling the handset. Apple UK spokesman Alan Hely also confirmed sales arrangements with Vodafone and Telecom Italia.