By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Apple Australia is directing local customers to visit their nearest Vodafone or Optus store if they wish to purchase a new 3G iPhone, in a move away from Apple’s traditional online sales model.

The statement on Apple Australia’s website tells customers in the “Where to buy” section to follow a link labelled “Find a Store”.

Customers are then taken to a page telling them the “iPhone is available at hundreds of Vodafone [Optus] locations across Australia. Which means there’s probably one near you”.

Both the Optus and Vodafone statements are followed by a link to each network’s homepage.

No prices are given on the Apple website, and Optus said prices, plans and offers would be revealed at a later date.

Customers who wish to register their interest with Optus to secure one of the first models can go to and pay a fully refundable $100 deposit.

Vodafone did not have a pre-registration site at time of publication, but said prospective owners will be able to register via its usual homepage "in the next few days", accordnig to a release.

Both networks said the phone would be available on both pre-paid and contract.