Did I read it? No, but then I didn't need to as I was replacing a Phat.
Personally, I think it's un-needed in paper form, although it's a requirement for people new to the PS3 and don't have a working knowledge of the PS3.
I would suggest that a single/first boot time guide be added to all new PS3s, guiding the new user through all aspects of PSN account creation, device registration and quick run down of PSN content and services (we all know Sony like to pimp those), perhaps even pausing/linking to the different areas at that moment.
HOWEVER, this must be skippable for an existing user/upgrading user etc. Perhaps a question like "Are you new to the Playstation 3 / Playstation Network? Yes or No. A little like the intro guide being used on PS Home these days.
It would appear this guide appeared in the models
Some of the first slims did not have this guide.
my ps3 (320gb model) didn't have such guide but i didn't pay much attention to be honest...i bought it on august and it replaced my old phat one (because of ylod).
This is pretty annoying if you ask me. Everything that's wrong (not saying it's bad, I love it) with the PS3 or has been wrong or features people really want. And yet they are asking about a manual inside the box. How about making stuff easier like the new deactivation site were there is a button to deactivate a single PS3, yet it doesn't work and also you can't deactivate your video service. Maybe when stuff like that is sorted, then you can start improving manuals that probably 90% of people don't even read.