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Details scarce ahead of iPhone 3G launch

As the world awaits the July 11 debut of Apple's upgraded smartphone, there are still more questions than answers regarding exactly how this year's launch events will unfold.

When, and how, will people get their hands on the iPhone 3G? Apple

A few tidbits about the upcoming iPhone 3G launch have trickled out this week, though unfortunately, none of them are particularly illuminating, taken individually.

Perhaps the most interesting one--if only for its lack of details--is the memo distributed to Apple Retail employees this week in FAQ-style concerning the July 11 launch of the iPhone 3G.

Employees are being instructed to answer "I don't know" to any number of pertinent questions surrounding the launch, such as how the in-store activation process will work, any upgrade offers from the original iPhone, or any planned price cuts to the iPod Touch.

AppleInsider reported that Apple is planning meetings for July 6 with its retail staff, presumably to share these details, once the company has finalized its plans.

Last year, the actual time of the iPhone launch was subject to much speculation until Apple finally settled on its "Happy Hour with the iPhone" plan.

This year, it seems a late-afternoon or early-evening start would mean a long night for employees trying to process in-store activations, so a rumor that sales would begin at 8:00 a.m. circulated on the pages of The Boy Genius Report. That remains unconfirmed, but it makes some sense, if in-store activations take several minutes to process, as expected.

Another huge difference between last year's iPhone launch and this year's is the number of countries participating in the launch of the iPhone 3G. We got some sense of what the iPhone 3G is going to cost overseas, with Orange in France declaring Thursday that the iPhone 3G versions would respectively cost 149 euros and 199 euros, or $232 and $310.

The European carriers seem to be offering upgrade paths for original iPhone owners, something that AT&T has not mentioned in its prelaunch marketing.

One last tidbit comes out of Spain, where Telefonica has apparently received 300,000 preorders for the iPhone 3G.

Demand for the first-generation iPhone in Europe was sluggish, but the addition of the 3G networking chip might have changed the minds of cell phone buyers on the continent. If Spain's pent-up demand is any indication, Apple should do pretty well with iPhone 3G sales.