Apple retail chief on what to expect at Apple stores on Friday

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Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Apple retail chief Ron Johnson offered some clarity on how his retail staffers will service droves of queued iPhone 3G hopefuls this Friday, how long each activation will take, and what kind of supply stores will have on hand.

A list of data points from Johnson's interview follow:

  • Apple Specialists should be able to activate customer accounts with AT&T within 15 minutes. "Our expectation is that in 10 to 15 minutes, you'll be set up and ready to go," Johnson said.
  • Each of Apple's 185 US-based retail stores aim to handle about 100 customers an hour.
  • Apple Specialists will take 30 customers at a time from the line, bring them inside the store, activate their iPhones, then repeat.
  • While Apple aims to make sure the activation process is a quick and painless process, it will also take care not to rush customers during their buying experience. "We'll spend as long as it takes with our customers to make sure they're happy with the phone,'' Johnson said.
  • On the issue of supply, Johnson said: "[There's] pent-up demand because we haven't had phones for a while. Our goal is to always have enough supply for every customer." Readers can read into that what they will...
  • "To make sure customers aren't buying handsets to resell overseas or modify them for use on unauthorized wireless networks, Apple will require customers to pay with a credit card and supply a Social Security number so the device is activated immediately."
  • Apple has no current plans to offer the iPhone 3G through its online store, Johnson said.

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