The new story is that new iphone users will have to activate in store. Current iphone users can simply register your new IMEI with the store then go home and switch your SIM card and do everything else through iTunes. Much easier for existing users.
I'm not getting the new model for awhile mainly because they don't have 3G here, probably wait a few months.
FYI, I saw this map of the whole US which shows their 3G. Its much better then their map on the website.