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Happy hour with the iPhone

Apple will set the iPhone free at 6 p.m. in each time zone across the U.S., company representatives have confirmed.

The American public will get its first chance to buy the iPhone at 6 p.m. in each local time zone, Apple confirmed Wednesday.

We don't recommend putting your iPhone in a pint. Casimir Fornalski/CNET

Somehow, I don't think Apple and AT&T will have two-for-one specials on the iPhone, but my New York-based colleagues will be the first to see how crowds react to the release of the iPhone at 6 p.m. ET. Those of us out here in California will have to wait until 6 p.m. our time for the official release of the phone, in yet another blatant example of East Coast bias.

And yes, Chicago and Denver residents who have to be first on the block with an iPhone will also get to spend Happy Hour standing in line, although you'll probably want to take the day off if you really want to get one. Apple and AT&T are being coy about how many units they expect to have on hand in major stores around the country, but it's not expected to be very many, and presales are not an option.

It also means that those of us following TMHGIH (The Most Hyped Gadget In History) will have to work late on what will probably end up being a beautiful Friday summer evening, thanks very much, Apple. After weeks of speculation about the launch date itself, Steve Jobs decided to end all speculation during his Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, revealing the iPhone would go on sale at 6pm. It took a couple days, however, to confirm whether Apple was aiming for a simultaneous launch or a rolling New-Year's-Eve style event.