Fans, clowns meet in S.F. iPhone line

The first few folks are congregating outside the downtown San Francisco Apple store, and for some, capitalism has just as much appeal as the iPhone.

Tom Krazit Former Staff writer, CNET News
Tom Krazit writes about the ever-expanding world of Google, as the most prominent company on the Internet defends its search juggernaut while expanding into nearly anything it thinks possible. He has previously written about Apple, the traditional PC industry, and chip companies. E-mail Tom.
Tom Krazit
2 min read
Jerry Taylor, first in line at the San Francisco Apple store. Tom Krazit/CNET News.com

San Francisco finally got into the iPhone game Thursday, as the first few folks started lining up outside Apple's downtown store at the corner of Stockton and Ellis Streets.

Jerry Taylor was first in line. Unlike Greg Packer, the professional line-waiter on 5th Avenue in New York, or the charity-minded folks in SoHo, Taylor was in a gambling state of mind. He was either hoping to trade his spot in line for a cash offer, or buy an iPhone with hopes of selling it later.

"I'm playing with my rent money," Taylor said, although he also said he's considering hanging on to the device. "If it does half of what it says, it will be pretty cool."

These clowns from Peepshow Minigolf planned to entertain those waiting for the iPhone. Tom Krazit/CNET News.com

Jessie, a San Francisco resident sporting his Slide.com shirt, was definitely looking to acquire an iPhone but didn't mind promoting his company at the same time. He considers the iPhone more of a "handheld computer" than a cell phone, and wants to replace his T-Mobile Sidekick with the Apple gadget.

Right behind Jessie was one of those only-in-San-Francisco sights: the costume-clad folks of Peepshow Minigolf, a group of performers dressed as clowns, complete with a makeshift minature golf hole along Stockton Street. "Glam Sam," who appeared to be the ringleader of this menagerie, described his outfit as a band of merrymakers here to "entertain the folks in line." He professed to love the iPhone, but appeared to be in character.

A trip to Peepshow Minigolf's site (totally safe for work, if a little strange), however, appears to give rise to conspiracy theories about the sanctity of those waiting for the iPhone. The Peepshow Minigolf folks profess to be live blogging at a site called 4celling.com. That outfit processes cellular transactions and was very proud to announce that AT&T, the exclusive iPhone carrier, is now onboard.

Justin.tv, live from the iPhone line. Tom Krazit/CNET News.com

Bringing up the rear of the 12-person line (at about 6:30 p.m., at least) was none other than Justin of Justin.tv, typing furiously away on his Mac. At around 8:30 p.m., however, he appeared to be back in a hotel room or office somewhere; it was, of course, sort of hard to tell.

Is anybody starting to wonder if there are going to be more media types wandering around tomorrow than actual iPhone fans? We'll check back tomorrow morning.