Until now, the only option Apple has offered for setting up an iPhone 3G is to complete the entire activation process at an Apple Store at the time of purchase. This has been known to cause delays and frustrations ranging from "moderately inconvenient" to "unmitigated disaster."
Today, Apple sent out an e-mail to its customers stating the following:
"Now you can get a head start from home by setting up your account and choosing your rate plan online. Then simply pick a time to buy your iPhone or drop in anytime. We'll have a Specialist ready and waiting to help you set up your iPhone just the way you want it."
The e-mail includes this link, which enables you to pre-enter the details for your iPhone account prior to choosing a time to visit an Apple Store and complete the purchase and activation process.
No word yet on whether this is actually an improvement...