Hour-by-Hour iPhone Countdown Begins!

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Hour-by-Hour iPhone Countdown Begins!

It's an unusually balmy evening here in San Francisco, making it that much easier for the 20 or so souls making up the iPhone line in front of the Apple Store on Stockton Street at 7 p.m. to enjoy themselves. Maybe it's the weather that's making them so happy. Maybe it's the prospect of holding a "Jesus phone" in their hot hands in fewer than 24 hours. Everyone we speak to as we walk down the line is in good spirits.


Of course, they still have 23 hours to go.


The two men who are first and second in line arrived a little before 10 a.m. today. Jerry Taylor, who is officially first, will have logged 32 hours in his spot on a gum-covered sidewalk of Stockton Street, near the mouth of a BART station and across the street from the Virgin Megastore.


At first Jerry tells us he's in line because he wants to buy an iPhone for himself. "I'm playing with my rent money," he adds. What? "It's either the iPhone or rent." After a pause, he adds, "So I might be willing to give up my spot." The implication is that if he can sell his prime spot in line for a high enough price, he might be able to afford to buy an iPhone and pay his rent.


For Jerry, it's an iPhone or his rent.


On down the line, Eric Eisher, a graphic designer at MOG, a music-centric social networking site based across the bay in Berkeley, tells us that he volunteered to camp out in line to buy the company's iPhone. He figured, he was getting paid anyway, so he might as well. To while away the time, he'll compose music on a vintage Casio keyboard and finish painting a skateboard he's customizing for a friend's birthday present.


Eric shows off the skateboard he's painting, while his trusty Casio sits at the ready.


In the No. 4 spot, Jesse Hammons is serving the 6-to-10 p.m. shift. He and six friends from Slide.com, where he works as a software developer, aim to complete their line-standing as a relay of sorts. For his part, Jesse plans to fill up on his two-per-person iPhone quota when the doors open at 6 p.m. on Friday.


Jesse enjoys an easy shift in the Slide.com line relay: 6 to 10 p.m. And someone's bringing him dinner.


An advertising kiosk breaks up the line at this point, but directly behind it is a jolly bunch of clowns. Seriously. Clowns. They're affiliated with Peepshow Minigolf, an outfit that clown rep Jumbolina describes as having "playfulness as its objective." And that's their objective in the iPhone line as well - to keep the crowd happy and enjoy themselves in the process. Jumbolina and friends insist that they already have iPhones (check the photo), so they don't need to buy them, but they like to go where the crowds are to spread their message of joy, hope, and goofiness.


Jumbolina takes a call on her "iPhone nano."


As you probably already know, all 164 Apple stores across the U.S. will close at 2 p.m. local time on Friday in preparation for the reopening at 6 p.m., and stay open until midnight. Authorized AT&T stores will also close around 4:30 p.m., reopen at 6 p.m. and stay open until at least 10 p.m. The iPhone will also go on sale on Apple's online store at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.


Be sure to check back Friday evening for more firsthand accounts of the Mac|Life staff's own iPhone-buying adventures - in addition to an unboxing, setup play-by-play, and our first impressions of this long-awaited Savior of the Human Race, er...cell phone.




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