Our earlier speculation has been confirmed: iPhone Atlas has learned that there will be no iTunes-based activation for the iPhone 3G. Activation will take place at the time of purchase, either at AT&T or Apple retail stores. This apparently means that there will be no online ordering of the new model, which is due to ship on July 11th.
The in-store activation method is the one traditionally used for most wireless phones, though Apple bucked the trend with its first-generation iPhone, offering an in-home activation scheme that allowed users to purchase the devices boxed then activate them later through iTunes.
The shift in purchase policy will likely further mitigate the market for unlocked iPhones, which has already become less important in the wake of worldwide, authorized carrier announcements.