I caught up with Mann approximately 9:30 PM Thursday and he seemed quite upbeat about today’s launch. You see, he’s a veteran of sorts because he was the third in line at the Century City Mall for the first iPhone launch. "I pretty much know how Apple will do things and I’ve been planning this for about a month," he told us.
And it certainly looks like Mann has planned this thing to the hilt. Since Apple stores won’t be accept cash on Friday - presumably to speed up lines and for the AT&T contracts - Mann showed me a shiny new Apple gift card with the exact amount for the $199 eight gigabyte iPhone plus California/Los Angeles County sales tax. He also recently sold his first generation iPhone for $250.
While I was interviewing him, a steady stream of mall goers ambled by staring at the black tarp covering the front of the Apple store. In preparation for the launch, the store closed early and employees obscured the store’s interior with the tarp. Some people were dumbstruck at the sight of Mann patiently waiting for his iPhone and a few offered praises. "Good luck man," some said while a mall security guard walked by, shook his head and mumbled, "I sure hope it’s worth it."
Several people tried entering the store, despite it obviously appearing closed. Turning around, they then asked the only person around about the iPhone and Mann was a fountain of information. In fact, we think Apple should just hire this guy because he was spouting off battery life, specs and features. "The apps store is the best thing, but I like the GPS, accelerometer ... oh and the visual voice mail, oh my god," he told one mall goer. Mann even had the data plans down pat and the exact credit score needed to make AT&T happy.
Interestingly enough, Mann works part-time at the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store in the same mall and unfortunately has another shift Friday afternoon. But no worries, he has it all planned out.
"When I get home, I’ll sync all my contacts and crash."
The Apple stores open at 8 AM and the 8 GB iPhone sells for $199 while the 16 GB model retails for $299. According to an Apple information card, customers will need their credit card, Social Security number and government-issued ID.