It looks like Apple and AT&T will be offering at least some iPhone 3GS owners the new iPhone for the fully discounted price, which has not been announced yet.
In past years, some iPhone fans have cried foul when they were asked to pay higher prices for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS than those who were new to AT&T. The wireless subscriber’s customers are generally eligible for a full discount on a phone every two years. iPhone customers who spend more than $99 per month on wireless services are generally eligible for discounted upgrades every 12 to 18 months.
Last year, AT&T announced discounts for early adopters after pre-orders for the iPhone 3GS already began. Those who would have been eligible for a full discount on the iPhone 3GS in July, August or September 2009 were given the full discount on the iPhone 3GS after many complaints.
This year, it appears that AT&T is jumping ahead of the curve by letting its customers know that they’ll be eligible for a full discount on the new iPhone that’s expected to be formally announced by Apple in June.
For the past two years, Apple’s introduced new iPhone models. What many believe is the new 2010 iPhone was leaked last month, prompting some to hold off on purchasing an iPhone 3GS since there are significant enhancements in the new model.
Tonight I checked my own AT&T account and saw that my iPhone upgrade eligibility date was 6/20/2009. I bought my iPhone 3GS on launch day in 2009 and its line is the second line listed on the account. The line listed above is my wife’s who is already eligible for a full upgrade because she’s yet to upgrade from her iPhone 3G.
The upgrade eligibility dates are not consistent, but they do point to a June announcement and hint that the new iPhone will be available for purchase or pre-order as early as June 20, 2010. At this point, it’s not known how AT&T is calculating the new iPhone upgrade eligibility. Whatever the cutoff date is, there’s bound to be at least some unhappy campers who can’t get the full discount on the new iPhone when it launches.
The iPhone 3GS is priced at $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB). Online gadget buyer Gazelle.com currently offering $304 for my 32GB iPhone 3GS, which means I could recoup my the entire purchase price of it before buying a next generation iPhone.
If you’re an early adopter hoping to be the first on your block to have a new iPhone in June, plan on ordering or getting in line early as possible.
Regardless of when AT&T subscribers upgrade their iPhones, they’ll need to sign a two-year agreement if they want the discount.