Yes, You Can Get an iPhone 4 on Thursday

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This time, AT&T has said every iPhone owner scheduled for upgrade pricing between June 7 and the end of the year would be immediately eligible for the $199/$299 prices.

To see if you've made the grade, check your account online at the, or dial *639# (star-639-pound) from your iPhone. (The latter results in a returned text message.)

How long will it take to get an iPhone? Not long.

Like last year, new iPhone owners can pay, walk out the store, then head home to activate it later using iTunes 9.2.

What do I bring with me to the store? To get out of the store with an iPhone, you'll need a credit card to pay for the phone. Later, during the iTunes activation process, you'll need your Social Security number for the credit check required by AT&T. If you're replacing an existing phone, you obviously have to have that number and authorization to manage its account.

Ordering online? You'll need the above plus your billing address, date of birth, and an e-mail address to open a new account.

It sounds like madness ... I'll wait a few days. Is there a way to tell whether the iPhone 4 is in stock before I drive to the store? Probably.

The last three years, Apple has fired up an iPhone availability tool that lets you check the company's retail stores' stocks, and there's no good reason why it won't launch it again. (But this is Apple we're talking about, so who really knows?) Here's a link to 2009's tool ; it currently redirects to the iPhone 4 online ordering site.

I keep hearing people talking about a recovery, but it's not reached me. Anything on the cheap? For $99, you can get an 8GB version of last year's iPhone 3GS. And unlike the iPhone 4, the older 3GS is in stock.

Want something for free? If you have an iPhone 3GS, upgrade to iOS 4 -- formerly called iPhone OS 4 -- to give your year-old smartphone multitasking and the rest of the operating system-based features that the iPhone 4 sports. You don't get the front-facing camera or FaceTime or the gyroscope, but like we said, it's free.

Money's no object. What are my options? There's always eBay.

As of early Wednesday, there were hundreds of iPhone 4s listed on the auction site, with prices as high as -- are you sitting down? -- $15,000.

You heard right. Fifteen. Thousand. Dollars. And look...shipping is free. What a deal.

Caveat emptor, everyone.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer , or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is .

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

This story, "Yes, You Can Get an iPhone 4 on Thursday" was originally published by Computerworld.

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