When it came to the first Apple iPhone, the crew in Cupertino told everyone exactly how much they could charge for the handset. Not a penny more and not a penny less. With the second coming of the Jesus Phone, however, it seems that Steve Jobs is removing those shackles and allowing the service providers to set just about whatever price they want for the 3G iPhone.
AT&T has yet to determine pricing for the next-generation iPhone, but it seems that they will have enough freedom to set their own price, rather than look to Apple for a forced price tag. More likely that not, the full retail price (no contract) will likely be the same across the board, but AT&T will have the ability to subsidize the 3G iPhone price based on what sort of plan and service agreement you sign. Maybe they’ll make it uber cheap if you sign up for the beefiest plan, for example.
Nothing has been confirmed on this front just yet, largely because Apple hasn’t even officially announced the thing yet. Stay tuned, because we’ll probably learn a heck of a lot more at WWDC.