They’re Here: First iPhone Shipments Arrive
AppleInsider reports this morning that the first shipments of Apple (AAPL) iPhones arrived over the weekend, touching down quietly at a handful of U.S. drop locations. (link)
Quoting “people familiar with the matter,” AppleInsider says that the shipments were carried by a Hong-Kong based courier that services Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. The security procedures, according to this report, were extraordinary:
Awaiting the freight at each location on Sunday were armored (sic) personnel, who were reportedly hired by Apple through its courier’s ground handling agent and then cleared by the Transportation Security Administration. Armed guards are extremely unusual for freight coming out of the Asian sector, those familiar with the matter explained, and are typically reserved for shipments containing riches such as gold and diamonds.
Once on the ground, the iPhone shipments were to be broken down under the watch of the armed personnel, who would then observe the loading of the freight onto ground vehicles and become party to its transpiration outbound. (link)
AppleInsider also reports that Apple management informed staffers on Sunday that no devices containing cameras — including cellphones and Macs with built-in iSight video cameras — would be allowed in the back storerooms of its retail outlets.
How it could hurt Apple for a photograph of an iPhone box to escape these security barriers is not clear. But none of this hurts the buzz that Steve Jobs is carefully fueling.