Manhattan iPhone Watch: T minus 4 days
There's nobody there yet, but security personnel have been beefed up and the ice cream truck on the corner might have a very profitable week.
No, nobody's waiting yet. A trip over to the iconic 5th Avenue Apple Store in midtown Manhattan at about 2:00 PM ET yielded the usual out-of-town shoppers (us locals typically prefer the only-slightly-less-mobbed SoHo location) and the new iPhone-shaped video displays in the windows, but no tents or crazed Apple fans. I did spot a couple of security-ish guys in suits walking around.
I'm guessing that if people showed up this early, desperate to be the first people in the States to get their hands on the iPhone, they'd be shooed away. We saw this with a line of PlayStation 3 hopefuls in Manhattan's Union Square back in November, who showed up several days early and were then told they had to go home because they were blocking access to the sidewalks.
Take note: Mr. Softee parks on this corner. I wanted to tell the driver that he might want to stake out that parking space, because I'm sure he'll make some major bank if he sticks around to sell Rocket Pops and Strawberry Shortcakes (or whatever Mr. Softee sells) to the hordes of Apple fans who will probably show up in a day or two. The midtown neighborhood has a couple of hot dog stands across the street on the outskirts of Central Park, but aside from that, few (affordable) food options within shouting distance. As CNET News.com editor Jon Skillings put it, we'll know before long whether Mr. Softee will be Mr. Savee.