Don't Make Friday a 'Cingular' Sensation;
Team Up to Battle thru iPhone Chorus Line

You Can Avoid the iPhone Madness on 'iDay' this Friday (tomorrow) or?
Join it in Order to Get Your Hands on One; Plus, Complete List of Stores!

by Joe Leo, Columnist

SPECIAL REPORT: Feature (6.28.07)-- We all know it's going to be a madhouse at all Apple and AT&T stores over the next two days, especially in locations with both storefronts just "inches" away from each other. We'd recommend staying away from those locations since that's where all the action is going to be, but in the location where this columnist resides and frequently visits, two interesting thoughts came to mind.

The first is to stay away from those types of locations at all costs (we have no choice since that's where we're doing our coverage tomorrow evening). Lining up at a lesser-known AT&T location--though by this point, all AT&T stores are probably in the spotlight, regardless of location... especially in markets where an Apple Store doesn't exist--and one that is a stand-alone store would probably be best in order to minimize the chaos.

On second thought, maybe going to a place with both an Apple and AT&T store isn't such a bad idea after all. Why? It might prove to be a feather in your pocket by increasing the chances of you getting a new iPhone.

With just a little over 24 hours left until the release of the iPhone at 6:00p local time in each time zone, the "frenzy," to quote NBC's Today show, is already present across the nation with people already in line. Apple has been even reported to be holding sleepovers at its stores for employees in order to maintain high security, not wanting to leave stores unmanned.

Previous reports that Apple would be shooing away customers and telling them to come back later in the day, not people inside, but those lining up, have not yet come to fruition. As we said on Tuesday, this is probably the case at Apple Stores inside indoor malls. Apple Stores out in the open, such as Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York can't be too much of a problem.

But what if your local Apple Store is part of a line of other retailers on the block, located on a narrow street, and across the street is an AT&T owned and operated Cingular Wireless store who will be carrying the iPhone on Friday, and on the third level of the complex are residential units? It's going to be pretty interesting what comes to pass. (Though we haven't had a chance to swing by there yet to see what it looks like... should we?).

You see... both the Cingular Wireless store and Apple Store we visited last week for our story on 6/20, are located in the same place on a small block in the city of Emeryville, CA, aptly named "Bay Street" in the San Francisco Bay Area. And since both these stores will be carrying the iPhone during its premiere release tomorrow, it might just turn out to be a real madhouse of sorts.

To paint a picture for you, Bay Street, Emeryville is roughly 1.5 city blocks, and is about as wide as, well, it's a narrow street! The road is a one-lane thoroughfare for each direction with room for cars to park adjacent to it. The sidewalk accommodates, at best, two to three people side-by-side walking down its path. And the distance from the edge of the sidewalk to the front of the stores isn't much space to work with either.

Put that all together, with the fact that all the stores on the street are adjacent to each other like that of an indoor mall--by the way, that's what Bay Street is... an outdoor shopping center with parking on the second level and residential housing units built on the third level--it's going to get just a little crowded!

Can you just imagine in your mind hordes of people on each side of the street, lining up hours beforehand in order to get their hands on an iPhone? No space on the sidewalk for shoppers/residents, and blocking the entrances of the other storefronts? It's happened before, like during the release of Tiger, where people in line (including us) were in the way of shoppers trying to get into the Pottery Barn and a coffee shop next door.

For the iPhone event, the lines and crowds could be unprecedented, amounting to a Steve Jobs Keynote Address type of line! Now repeat that image in your head a "million" times over in similar locations across America. Not a pretty sight.

Too bad couldn't cover the event with live webcams at all Apple and AT&T stores in the U.S.!

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