Apple's iPhone: The iLiners Wait!

CNBC's Jim Goldman interviewing the "Zooomr" group.
CNBC's Jim Goldman interviewing the "Zooomr" group.

From our position outside of Apple Inc.'s store in downtown Palo Alto, the line is long, the atmosphere festive and sleep is hard to come by. But the bagels and shmeer from Noah's are plentiful and the entrepreneurial spirit that made Silicon Valley famous is alive and well.

At the Walnut Creek, California store in the East Bay, Josh May from tells us "We are actually selling our spots in line. We have about 700 hits on our website. We've a couple of seats sold for about $500. Some almost coming up to $700."

Will he buy an iPhone? "It is a little much for my taste, but it is definitely a great phone," says May.

Another iLiner: "I posted mine on Craigs List. I have (my iPhone) already paid for. I am just waiting for someone to come and pay for it Friday."

Jay Caylon says "I am here to buy the iPhone and the way things have been going, we might be able to sell the spot and get a second iPhone."

A woman sitting on line in Palo Alto tells us, "My mom's friend is paying me $300 to sit here to wait in line for the iPhone."

Says another: "I am getting paid $400 waiting in line for my boss to get his iPhone. He told me to come out there 'cause he doesn't want to wait all night."

And check out well as Thomas Hawk and Kristopher Tate (update: earlier post spelled name as Christopher) have been webcasting their own talk show from the line since noon Thursday. They're using MacBook Pros, a Panasonic P2, a Snowball mic, and the ustream network. The shoestore next door, Footwear Etc. is graciously sharing its store power to give these guys some juice.

"This is a part of new social media that's really changing the world," says Hawk. As far as the iPhone is concerned: "I'm probably more of an Apple Computer fan. I love the Mac. It's so much better than a PC for me. Things just work in general. They just work. The intuitiveness of the design is just incredible. I'm willing to give it a try without really knowing that much about it."

And a special shout out to photo-sharing, supplying the bagels and pizza. By the way, Don MacAskill, CEO and Chief Geek, tells me the company is profitable ad has taken no venture capital. Yet. (Ever, he says.)

But I digress. Back to the iPhone!

Down the line, along Kipling St. And over to Lytton Ave. in downtown Palo Alto, lots of people with dogs, throw rugs, sleeping bags, Red Bull cans everywhere. Lots of digital cameras. And Apple laptops perched on dozens of knees. This is the heart of Silicon Valley and the Geek Squad is out in force!

Sales figures of the iPhone will be hard to come by, but projections for the weekend are staggering. Pacific Crest Securities, raising estimates today, anticipates 400,000 units sold over the next 48 hours. Piper Jaffray is equally optimistic.

"We're looking for 200,000 units this weekend. and we think if they do above 400,000 that would be a significant success," says analyst Gene Munster. "Keep in mind, logistically, just to get 400,000 units through any door in two days is tough. So, 400,000 or more is a home run."

And all the batters are lining up and ready to take a swing on Apple's behalf.

Questions? Comments?