Apple customers can also choose to pre-order the iPhone 3GS via Apple's Web site for delivery to your home/office. Apple says online pre-orders will be delivered on June 19...or later. It makes no guaranties that the iPhone 3GS will actually be delivered on the 19th. If you're on a family-plan, don't bother with Apple, it can only handle single line activations. You can also pre-order online and pick up the iPhone 3GS at the Apple Store on June 19.
I chose this route. After I finished making my reservation (I didn't have to pay), Apple said, "Thanks for reserving your iPhone. When you arrive at the Apple Retail Store, talk to a Concierge in an orange shirt. From there, we'll help you complete your purchase."
Apple doesn't specify if those who pre-order will be able to wait in a separate line, and it also didn't guarantee that one would actually be available for me when I get there.
You can choose to skip Apple in favor of AT&T if you wish.
AT&T is also accepting pre-orders online and at its 2,200 retail sites. Like Apple, AT&T says orders will be processed to arrive on June 19, but because it is limited to a first-come, first served basis, it is not guaranteeing that the iPhone 3GS will indeed be delivered on the 19th.
If you pre-order at an actual store, your chances of scoring are better. AT&T stores will open at 7 AM for pre-ordered iPhone 3GS's only. AT&T stores will open at 8 AM for those who choose not to pre-order a phone. AT&T says that it will have two separate lines, so that if you've pre-ordered an iPhone 3GS, you won't have to wait with the rest of the masses.
Based on my experiences the first two launch days, I'd highly recommend you pre-order from Apple and get there early. Apple stores will have far more units available compared to AT&T stores.
[via Ars Technica]