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S.F. Apple store closes so it can open again

The downtown store shuts down for four hours in preparation for tonight's launch.

Apple store closing
A potential customer gets turned away by security. Erica Ogg/CNET
Apple Store closing
Only Apple employees remain inside the hallowed iPhone temple. Erica Ogg/CNET

As planned, Apple shuttered its flagship San Francisco Apple store at 2 p.m. today to prep for tonight's first iPhone sales.

Apple employees gawked back at the gawkers outside the store on Stockton Street in downtown San Francisco. A constant stream of curious passersby snapped camera-phone shots, local news cameramen hovered, and independent video bloggers galore were on hand for the closing of the Apple store curtains before they'll be raised again this evening for the first iPhone sales in the Pacific time zone.

Apple store closing.
What are YOU looking at? Erica Ogg/CNET

New Yorkers got their phones earlier this afternoon, and reporter Caroline McCarthy was among the paparazzi present to capture the hoopla. Check back later to see San Franciscans get their turn.