We at CNET News.com dialed up 75 Apple and AT&T retail stores this week in hopes of dislodging some secrets to landing--or, although it seemed forbidden in most cases, even reserving--a coveted iPhone.
The verdict? No one's really sure how the scheduled June 29 launch will unfold, much less how many phones they'll have in stock. But many stores are bracing themselves for long lines and pitched tents well before the gadgets arrive.
Here's our full story on the big hunt, and here are a few tips for making the iPhone yours:
Log on to Apple's Web-based store on June 29. The phone will be available at 6 p.m. that day, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced. sign up for updates here. But forget trying AT&T's e-commerce site; the company says it won't be selling iPhones online, at least initially.
Call a few local AT&T stores, and see if you can get on their waiting lists or if your local sales representative has any tips about how that particular store is handling requests. Most will tell you that it's all first come, first served, but practices appear to vary widely.
Show up early at an Apple retail store or company-owned AT&T store on June 29. Most stores say they will be keeping normal hours that day, though midnight parties at Apple stores don't appear to be completely ruled out. The big question is how many phones each store will stock.
Wait until the June 29 mania dies down, and hope that AT&T and Apple decide to allow locally owned AT&T franchises and resellers to carry the product as well. More locations should mean more units--and shorter lines.