updated 07:50 pm EDT, Fri July 4, 2008
iPhone 3G lineup starts
Though its about a week before the expected launch of the iPhone 3G, a line already has begun forming outside the Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue Store in New York City. As of mid-Friday afternoon, about 10 people are in line waiting to purchase the new iPhone 3G, which will be available next Friday (July 11th). Gear Daily reports that "about 10 people in line with the first two being a man and woman with a young child. The security guards will allow everyone to stay and indicated that as of yet there are no plans to put out barricades." Pictures from the store, courtesy of Gear Daily, show people prepared for the seven-day wait with fold-up chairs, overnight gear, and more.
The report claims that number one in line is "a man and woman with a baby whose goal is to set a record for time in line and the first baby to wait with them (or some such nonsense)." Although there is expected to be ample supply, those in line early may be avoiding what is expected to be more time-consuming purchase process that will begin as early as 8AM in US and 7AM in the UK.
Unlike last year, customers will be required to activate their iPhone 3G in store -- and the process, which is expected to take about 10 minutes, will likely keep people in line longer. Last year, Apple touted its "at-home" activation process, which although suffered its own problems, allowed customers to simply (and quickly) purchase their iPhone. The now confirmed two-step activation process maybe designed to prevent sales of "subsidized" iPhones that could easily be unlocked, but will force stores to deal with longer lines and prolong logistical issues around the sales process.
Leaked AT&T memos show that the insistence on control is expected to produce heavy demands on AT&T staff, to the extent that the company is calling for extra part-time help simply to run iPhone from storage to clerks, "to facilitate unbricking." In addition, the telecom giant is further pressuring workers to take extra four- to seven-hour shifts in other unorthodox roles for launch weekend, such as Greeter, Crowd Manager or Floor Coordinator.