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  • Mezzanine

    • 6 out of 10
    • Massive Attack
    • "Black Milk" knocks me off my feet in this collection of moody and eclectic songs. Massive Attack uses samples and keyboards in a very unique way, but not all the songs pack the same punch.

  • 8:30

    • 10 out of 10
    • Weather Report
    • This is Weather Reports quintessential line-up captured live. Jaco Pastorious and Peter Erskine join Wayne Shorter and, of course, Joe Zawinul to create this masterpiece.
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    • 10 out of 10
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    • Beck is the modern master of the groove, and Guero is merely the latest example of this. From the opening power chords of "E-Pro," to the Pac-Man cuteness of "Girl," to the dirge-like lullab

  • Rift

    • 8 out of 10
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    • This quasi-concept album (the only of its kind) from these Vermonters finally showcased their ability to convey a message with a studio album, whereas previously they only succeeded in doing so live.
  • Playing the Angel

    • 8 out of 10
    • Depeche Mode
    • Oddly enough, Playing The Angel is a return to form for Depeche Mode, even though it may well be argued that they never truly deviated from their roots in their more recent offerings. In the

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iPO Quick Tip

iPhone 3G S USA Current Availability and Pricing Guide [UPDATED]

Last Monday, June 8th, Apple announced the iPhone 3G S, due to arrive worldwide this Friday, June 19th. Since then, current and would-be customers in the USA have been through a sea of confusion on pricing, options, and availability. We have been receiving questions from those who are still unclear on where and how the best place to get an iPhone 3G S is and, with this guide, provide the options currently available to you. As facts and status change, we will update this article accordingly.

Availability

As of right now, there are 5 places USA-based customers can purchase or pre-order an iPhone 3G S:

  • Apple Store Online - As of the morning of June 17th, Apple's online store is no longer saying, "Delivers by June 19th." Chances are any orders placed from now forward will be received next week though it is possiblethat something could ship from China today and be received in the States on Friday. If you do order from the Apple Store Online, it's OK if you're already an AT&T customer -- Apple's Store links with AT&T and is fairly robust at sorting through your options (one TMO staffer was able to replace an existing iPhone on an AT&T FamilyTalk plan just fine via the Apple Store... or so he thinks!)
  • Apple Retail Store - As of this update, the Apple Retail Stores are likely your best bet for getting your hands on an iPhone 3G S on Friday, June 19th. Apple will be opening most of its retail stores at 8 a.m. local time to sell the iPhone 3G S. You can still go online to pre-order one for pick up, but there is a note on the page indicating that a pre-order is not a guarantee of availability -- all will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Still, expect the Apple retail stores to have a lot of stock on hand, though by the end of the day many stores will likely sell out. If you you plan to try your luck here, our advice is to line up at least an hour or two before store opening at 8 a.m.
  • AT&T Online - AT&T is now indicating that online pre-orders will be delivered 7 to 14 days after your order, and that availability is based on a first-come, first-served basis. At this point, with Apple's online store still indicating June 19th delivery we see no reason to order from AT&T Online.
  • AT&T Retail Store - AT&T retail stores are still taking pre-orders for the iPhone 3G S but their estimated delivery is 7 to 14 days from order date (some stores are indicating "about a week"). Most are also getting some stock to sell on June 19th to customers that line-up, so even though you can no longer pre-order for pick up on the 19th, you can still try your luck in line. If history is any indicator, AT&T will have less stock available per store than Apple, though with many areas sporting 2 or more AT&T stores this may help spread the crowds. AT&T's advice: "be first in line."
  • Best Buy - Best Buy will also be selling the iPhone 3G S in at least some of their stores, but many locations may not receive stock until mid-day on the 19th. Our recommendation is that you call your local Best Buy locations to check on availability throughout the day.

One item of note: if you plan on waiting a week or more before going to get an iPhone 3G S, an AT&T retail store may be your best option simply because AT&T is the phone company involved here. By visiting a retail store you will have direct interaction with an AT&T representative which will be especially helpful if you have a fringe case with your existing service that requires some adjustments by AT&T on your account.

Pricing

One of the most confusing aspects of the iPhone 3G S rollout in the USA has been pricing. This is due, in large part, to the fact that Apple's original iPhone had a different back-end subsidy package than the second-generation iPhone 3G did. The original version was subsidized by Apple and then AT&T paid a monthly royalty back to Apple for the phone. The iPhone 3G was subsidized by AT&T in a more traditional way where AT&T paid Apple full price for the phone and kept the monthly recurring revenue. Because Apple had flexibility on the first one, AT&T and Apple were able to offer "new customer" pricing to anyone who wanted to upgrade from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G. That is still true if you're upgrading from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G S. However, if you've got an iPhone 3G it is subject to (mostly) traditional AT&T pricing which means you're still under your 2-year contract and cannot "trade-up" for the same price that someone without a contract could.

  • New AT&T 2-year Contract - If you are not an AT&T customer (or are an AT&T customer not under contract), you are eligible to purchase the iPhone 3G S at fully discounted prices by signing a new, 2-year contract: US$199 for 16GB model, US$299 for 32GB model.
  • iPhone (original) owner, still under contract - If you are an original iPhone customer and are still under contract, you are eligible to purchase the iPhone 3G S at the same, fully-discounted prices by signing a new, 2-year contract: US$199 for 16GB model, US$299 for 32GB model, plus an $18 upgrade fee on either.
  • iPhone 3G owner, upgrade-eligible in July/August/September 2009, still under contract - If you purchased an iPhone 3G before October, 2009 it is possible (based on a number of factors, including your monthly bill) that you are eligible to upgrade to the iPhone 3G S for the same, fully-discounted pricing that new customers get by signing a new, 2-year contract: US$199 for 16GB model, US$299 for 32GB model. If you fall into this category and have ordered from Apple or AT&T before this policy was announced, you will receive a credit for the difference.
  • iPhone 3G owner, upgrade-eligible October 2009 or later, still under contract - iPhone 3G customers who are still bound by their AT&T contracts will not be eligible for fully-discounted pricing until those contracts AT&T's fully-upgradable conditions. However, AT&T has made special, semi-discounted pricing available here: US$399 for 16GB mode, US$499 for 32GB model, plus the $18 upgrade fee on either.
  • AT&T With No Commitment - AT&T and Apple will sell you a "no-commitment" iPhone 3GS: US$599 for 16GB model, US$699 for 32GB model. Note that these phones are still locked to AT&T's network, so make sure you understand your options before purchasing.

Leveraging Your Family (or Friends!)

If you are an iPhone 3G customer who wants to upgrade at the lower $199/$299 pricing, there is still one option: keep your iPhone 3G in service and start a new contract for an iPhone 3G S. You can roll your iPhone 3G to a family member or even to a (trusted) friend who's willing to pick up the remainder of your contract. This also means that if you have an existing AT&T FamilyTalk plan where one person has an original iPhone and another has an iPhone 3G, you can replace the original iPhone with an iPhone 3G S for fully-discounted pricing. Then, if desired, simply swap SIM cards from one iPhone to another and you can assign the phones and numbers as desired. AT&T has confirmed for us that this will work just fine and is permitted under the terms of their standard contracts for US-based iPhone users. Note that this requires you to keep the US$30 iPhone data plan active on the iPhone 3G for the remainder of its contract.

It's Shopping Time!

Lots of details here, and there have already been changes.As time progresses and details change, we will update this article accordingly.

[Updated June 17, 2009, 10:53am EDT to indicate that Apple Store Online is no longer advertising delivery by June 19th for new orders.]

[Updated June 17, 2009, 2:34pm EDT to reflect AT&T's new fully-discounted pricing options for a limited number of iPhone 3G owners.]

1 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

ChoMomma said:

how about AT&T make it more affordable to actually have the iPhone after you buy it and sign up for the 2 year contract.. $30/month on top of whatever plan I decided on just for data?  I only pay $45/month for my 16Mbit cable connection..

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