Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Two weeks later, New Yorkers wait 4 1/2 hours for an iPhone

July 24, 2008: 7:36 PM ET

The barricades are still in place outside the glass cube of Apple's (AAPL) flagship store on Fifth Avenue, and the line of customers still snakes down to 58th Street.

To the amazement of Apple staffers handling the crowd, hundreds of shoppers were lined up Thursday afternoon for a chance to buy  an iPhone 3G - 14 days after it first went on sale.

"I thought by now everybody who wanted one would have bought it," said a clerk in an orange Apple T-shirt, as he processed transactions for Macs, iPods and various accessories. Customers not buying iPhones moved freely in and out of the store. The people in the iPhone queue waited patiently for a signal from security that it was their turn to shuffle in.

The last person in line, a young man in earbuds who had just arrived, said he'd heard there was a five hour wait but was pretty sure it wouldn't take him that long.

At the head of the line was a young woman from Poland. No, she quickly added, she didn't come just for the iPhone. But she had been standing in line for four and half hours.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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