For new customers wanting an iPhone 3G, you now have another way to buy it - ordering straight from Apple, an option that hasn't existed since the original iPhone was sold. Online purchasing was taken away with the introduction of the 3G. AT&T brought it back in December, and only now has Apple caught up.
New subscribers can activate their service online, then have their new iPhones shipped straight to their door. Current AT&T customers will need to reserve their iPhones online, then go pick them up at the Apple Store.
As I found out last month, having existing subscribers go in to pick up their iPhone can be a very good move, because things can certainly go wrong. When I went to the Apple Store to pick up my new iPhone 3G, it turns out that when I purchased my original iPhone in November 2007 that they didn't enter it into the system properly. I was nearly charged the full price of the iPhone rather than the subsidized price offered to those who wanted to upgrade from EDGE to 3G. A trip to the nearby AT&T store took care of that, but it was the sort of thing that was far easier to handle in person than over the phone. They were able to pull up my original receipt and override the system so I was recognized as a previous adopter rather than someone just trying to break my original contract.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!