First iPhone 4 buyers already camping out in SF

The first two people in line at the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco are bartering their spots for cash and a new iPhone 4.

Chris Bank and Joe Lobato claimed the first three spots in line at the San Francisco Apple store Tuesday.
Chris Bank and Joe Lobato claimed the first three spots in line at the SF Apple Store Tuesday. James Martin/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--The iPhone 4 won't officially show up in stores until Thursday, but as has become a tradition , some of the more eager have gotten in line days ahead of time.

Chris Bank, 24, camped out in a tent with a friend on Stockton Street Monday night in order to secure the first two spaces in line. He says he's never waited in line before for any gadget, but that this iPhone release is special. "I'm finally switching!" he said Tuesday, holding up his BlackBerry.

Bank is renting the first space in line, along with use of his tent, for $200.
Bank is renting the first space in line, along with use of his tent, for $200. (Click to enlarge.) James Martin/CNET

Bank is trying to gather as much attention as he can by Twittering about his exploits live, but that's also because he has something to sell. Bank has two spots and is trying to rent out the first spot in line along with his tent on for $200. The highest bidder has the chance to be one of the first to get the iPhone at the Stockton Street store on Thursday morning--and the chance to get photographed by the media, which will swarm him.

Apple has made him feel welcome. When he was almost issued a ticket by the San Francisco police for camping on the sidewalk Tuesday morning, Bank says "an Apple rep offered to pay" for it.

Apple has in the past few years been happy to accommodate iPhone line waiters, bringing refreshments to them and allowing some who've camped overnight to recharge their laptops in the store.

Joe Lobato is also taking an entrepreneurial tack. He's third in line at the San Francisco store, but is willing to sell his spot--just a lawn chair, no tent--for $200 cash because he says he wants a new iPhone, but can't afford the cost himself. Lobato is also Twittering about his experiences and streaming on Ustream.TV via the Webcam on his white MacBook.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.


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