June 29, 2007: AT&T store report from downtown San Diego.
I walked down to check the line, got there about 1855 and stayed for 20 minutes. Orderly line, demographic mostly 24-36, with some kids on skateboards, a family with children, and some grey-haired couples. I counted just over 60 people waiting. The line moved about 10 meters in the 20 minutes, and I counted 7 people leave with an AT&T bag. Some employees were walking the line, and talking to the people - I can only guess that they'd tell them if supply was running out, and nobody left. A couple people asked me what was going on. One older couple was visiting from Montreal, headed home after a working vacation in Baja Mexico, and had never heard of the iPhone. Some high school kids were intrigued by the line, with one guy telling his buddy about all the features as I talked to them. Some other locals were standing across the street with me and talking about the line. One guy said he'd already gotten 10 iPhones. I was too polite to call out his story, numbers don't impress me (other than AAPL numbers!) One of the people I saw leave the store was carrying a metal folding chair, but none of the other people still in the line had chairs. So I suspect the line wasn't more than the 60 people I saw at 1800 when the doors opened. The San Diego downtown store is right across from a big multi-level indoor-outdoor mall (Horton Plaza) in the Gaslamp area, so they probably had/have a good stock of phones and everyone in the line will be happy tonight. That is if AT&T will pick up the pace. They probably are going through the registration process for people who don't have iTunes at home? Not sure what the hold-up might be.
Walking home I had promised to give a report to the owners of my local café / restaurant who are from Italy. They were interested in seeing one walk in with a customer and I said they'd probably see one this weekend if not tonight. They were also interested in the pending European roll-out and echoed the idea that swappable SIMS was a necessity. One of the locals, Nick, was interested in the iPhone but was fed up with Apple's backdating of options and went on about "a company's fiduciary responsibility to shareholders" etc etc. I thought that was old news? But Nick seemed to think it would surface again and cause problems. I mentioned that backdating options was not illegal at the time, and that the investigation had turned up nothing, but he maintained his belief that another shoe was yet to fall.
All told, a fun little jaunt down the hill. Medium line, moving slowly, but nobody turning away, and lots of buzz from passers-by.