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Apple stores hosting 'iPhone World Premiere' Friday night

Apple has announced that its retail stores will close from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday ahead of the "iPhone World Premiere" from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Apple's retail stores will be open until midnight on Friday to accommodate iPhone customers.

Apple is promoting the "iPhone World Premiere" from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday night outside its retail stores around the country. The company announced earlier today that Apple stores would be closed from 2 to 6 p.m. on Friday to get ready for the iPhone launch. 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.

Apple will need four hours to get ready for iPhone Night at its retail stores. Tom Krazit/CNET

CNET will have folks here in San Francisco, out in New York, and down in Palo Alto, Calif., checking out the scene outside Apple's retail stores and nearby AT&T stores Friday night. Even at the 24-hour Manhattan store, it appears iPhones will only be on sale until midnight, as's Caroline McCarthy spotted the same sign outside Apple's 5th Avenue store.

Earlier this week, a report surfaced that AT&T plans to close its stores at 4:30 p.m., reopening at 6 p.m., but those stores will only be open until 10 p.m. The downtown San Francisco Apple store reopens at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, while the AT&T store around the corner opens also opens at 10 a.m.