San Antonio — AT&T is preparing for the June 29, 6 p.m. iPhone launch with a heavy focus on demonstrating and explaining the device to customers.
The carrier has invested 100,000 hours of training for store employees who will be involved with selling and servicing the product and will delay online sales for an undetermined time period because “We want consumers to have direct contact” with salesmen who can explain the product, said a spokesman.
AT&T confirmed a report in the Wall Street Journal that it hired 2,000 temporary employees to assist in the launch and will offer security where necessary.
But the spokesman declined to call the launch an unprecedented event for the carrier. “We’re used to handling crowds ... We were the first company to introduce the RAZR … We know how to do this. The iPhone [launch] is different in degree but not in kind.”
The company would not reveal the number of iPhones to be allocated per store but said that factors such as the “concentration of population” near a store would be taken into consideration.
AT&T said it has not yet advertised the iPhone but will launch a campaign in the future and offered no specifics.
The pre-launch hype for the iPhone is reminiscent of that of the
where some of the players were placed immediately on eBay and sold at four times their value or higher.
eBay said of the iPhone launch, “Our eBay community is very entrepreneurial and we expect to see listings for the iPhone on the site immediately after its launch on June 29.”
The site issued a ban on iPhone listings prior to the official launch and states the following requirements for post-launch sales: “The listing must include a unique photograph of the iPhone; Your User ID must be clearly displayed within the photograph (watermarks will not be accepted); To ensure buyer protection, PayPal must be the only accepted form of payment.”
Apple recently stated the iPhone will be able to play YouTube videos. The iPhone will provide up to eight hours of talk time, six hours of Internet use and seven hours of video playback.