Apple stores to close early in preparation of iPhone release

By Justin Mann on
The iPhone is three days away. In typical Apple fashion, to celebrate this occasion Apple will be closing their stores early come Friday. Well, not entirely – they will be shutting their stores down countrywide at 2PM, only to open them up again 4 hours later. This early shutdown will be to prepare for the actual release, in which their stores will remain open until midnight on Friday.

Of course, given that shipments have probably already been sent out and stores must have had at least some preparation already finished, it makes many speculate on just what Apple is planning:

An Apple representative wouldn't comment directly on whether Apple was planning any type of special event at the San Francisco store, but with all the fans, media, and gawkers expected on hand, that probably counts as an event even if Steve Jobs doesn't show.
AT&T will be doing similar things with their stores, though it doesn't appear that they will be remaining open until midnight. Given the fairly late “opening” of the iPhone, and the required coupling with both AT&T and iTunes, I wonder if many will be caught with a lapse in service over the weekend.

Will the release of the iPhone be troublesome or will it be worry free? And just how much fanfare will there be?

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