Apple on Thursday said customers buying the combination phone, multimedia player, and Web browser through one of its 164 retail stores in the U.S. will be limited to two on a first come, first served basis. The only other place where the phones can be purchased is through AT&T, which requires the buyer to sign up for a two-year service plan. AT&T is the exclusive wireless carrier for the iPhone in the United States.
If the initial demand for the iPhone is as big as expected, then the gadgets are likely to sell out quickly, which could make the hot items a lucrative piece of merchandise on eBay. Apple is apparently more interested in getting the $500 devices to as many customers as possible.
To assist buyers in using their new toy, Apple on Saturday plans to offer free workshops at its retail stores. In addition, the company said it would offer personal training through its One to One program. "Apple retail stores were created for this moment -- to let customers touch and experience a revolutionary new product," Ron Johnson, Apple's senior VP of retail, said in a statement.
Hype aside, the iPhone is considered unique because of, among other things, its multi-touch screen to control the device. The iPhone combines three products in one -- a mobile phone, widescreen iPod for playing music and watching video, and a Web-browsing device.