The iPhone 3G will require a two part activation, conflicting with earlier reports. Well, rumors. And this is a rumor, too, and an Italian one at that, so don’t freak out when it, too, is refuted in 18 minutes. Such is life online.
Anyhow, an Italian site claims that the iPhone 3G will be activated in two parts, once in the store and once at home. The in-store activation will tell the Apple mothership that an iPhone is on the loose, and to prep it for actual activation. The second part, done at home, presumably with iTunes, will contact AT&T for the remainder of the process.
Again, this is just a rumor force fed through machine translation—amazingly, no one on staff speaks Italian—so it could be wildly off the mark.