AT&T said today that it has hired an additional 2,000 store staffers to help handle the launch of Apple’s hotly anticipated iPhone. The phone is due to go on sale on June 29 at 6 PM local time at AT&T stores around the United States, as well as in Apple’s own retail stores and via Apple’s Web site.
The iPhone will be available exclusively on AT&T’s wireless service in the United States, although the company has yet to detail pricing on service plans for the iPhone. AT&T is not subsidizing the iPhone itself, meaning customers will be paying the full $499 and $599 price tags for the 4 GB and 8 GB versions of the device, in addition to fees associated with a two year service contract. The iPhone combines Wi-Fi Internet capabilities with an iPod music player and so-called “2.5G” wireless data services, using a widely heralded interface on a touch sensitive screen.
AT&T says it will shutter its stores on 4:30 PM on June 29 in order to prep for the iPhone launch at 6 PM. The stores will then remain open until 10 PM local time, although individual stores may stay open later at managers’ discretion, and stores located in malls and other areas with closing times earlier than 10 PM will shutter up at the standard time. AT&T is also advising store managers on how to handle expected crowds, including informing landlords about the event and employing crowd control devices.
AT&T’s wireless division employs over 55,000 people.
Apple has also posted new material to its iPhone Web site highlighting features and demonstrating aspects of the device’s touch-based interface.