Chip programming is how we start manufacturing for our other products, so we figured it would be a good way to do it for blink(1) too. This does mean that firmware has to be done and tested at the very start of the manufacturing run. Oh, if we could only wait to the last minute! The firmware was finalized over a week ago and sent off to our programming house. They are laser-engraved at the programming house with "BLINK1" to let us know they've been programmed and to let you know you have a real blink(1)!
We've also been working with a packaging manufacturer to make a unique white box with magnetic clasp to hold blink(1). We've had two samples created so far and are working on a third. Once we get some nicer pics we'll post them in an update. We plan on the packaging will be nice enough that you'd be happy giving a blink(1) as a gift.