So after all the $199 hoopla it turns out the price of the 3g iPhone is...no different than the price of existing iPhone's now.
AT&T retail stores will be open at 8AM local time on July 11th, so be “iReady!” Existing customers who don’t qualify for an upgrade will have to shell out $399 and $499 for the corresponding iP3G model. Customers who don’t want to extend their current contract will pay $599 for the 8GB and $699 for the 16GB model.
Now let me say that I don't have a problem with them announcing $199 as the price even though that price requires a 2 year contract. That's just marketing.
But I do find two things a little disingenuous...
1. They framed this as a price drop which it isn't.
2. They waited until now to reveal how much it would be for those not eligible for an upgrade. Since that group includes every existing iPhone user I think this counts as "stringing your existing customers along"
I think its debatable where the line is between good marketing and flat out lying but Apple's definitely right up against it with this (if they didn't cross it completely).
I love my iPhone but as someone who hadn't owned an Apple product before this I'm constantly surprised by Apple's shoddy treatment of their customers.
Addendum: Kudos to VentureBeat for catching this, the new iPhone 3g data plans don't include any text messaging. Read about it here.