FORTUNE -- Dawn had broken by the time I made it to Apple's (AAPL) flagship Fifth Avenue store Friday morning. The barricades were already in place, and the crowd of would-be customers had filled Apple Plaza and circled the block.
I started a head count at 7:00 a.m. and 10 minutes later reached 1,068 at the end of the line, half-way up 58th Street.
That's 50% more than the 710 I counted at the same time last year for the iPhone 5 launch, which itself was 52% higher than the line for the 4S.
I'll do another count just before the 8 a.m. launch.
Final pre-launch line count as of 7:53: 1,213, with new customers joining the queue at the rate of about 15 per minute.
Everybody I asked was there to buy the iPhone 5S. Anybody who wanted a 5C , of course, could order it online.
By 8:45, when I went back to see how much the crowd had grown, the line was snaking up 5th Ave. and the count had swelled to 1,410.
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster's posted a similar count: 1,417 at the big glass cube plus another 405 at Apple's Upper West Side store.
Here, for reference purposes, is Munster's updated line-count chart.
If you want a free repair at a Beijing Apple Store, be prepared to pay.
FORTUNE -- When Wang Bin's iPhone 4S developed a glitch, he went online to book a slot at the nearest Apple Store Genius Bar.
Mr. Wang, a correspondent for the Beijing Morning News, soon discovered that every appointment at all three Beijing Apple Stores had been booked four weeks in advance.
They'd been snapped up by scalpers MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 30, 2013 7:12 AM ET
It was Apple's 11th retail outlet in Germany, but it still managed to draw a crowd.
FORTUNE -- After openings in Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg Alster, Hamburg Jungfernstieg, Dresden, Cologne, Oberhausen, Augsburg, Sindelfingen and Sulzbach, Apple (AAPL) finally built its first store in Berlin, and the faithful turned up in droves. The store -- the country's largest, with a full-sized auditorium on the second floor -- opened Friday at 5 p.m.
By 8:50, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 3, 2013 3:55 PM ET
Meet the Apple Store employees who tweet anonymously about their silly clients
FORTUNE -- Ever wanted to know what those preternaturally cheerful workers in colored T-shirts really think about working retail for Apple (AAPL)?
9to5Mac's Mark Gurman opened a window on their secret thoughts this week with a feature story about "Apple Anonymous" -- an underground society of Apple Store employees who tweet anonymously about life on the floor and behind the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 23, 2013 6:23 AM ET
Millions of people are familiar with Samsung-made smartphones or TVs. But their knowledge of the Korean electronics giant often stops there, according to a new survey from market research firm Harris Interactive.
FORTUNE -- Even if you use a Galaxy phone, how much do you really know about the company that made it? Can you name Samsung's chief executive officer? Or, for that matter, any of the conglomerate's top leaders? Do you MOREMichal Lev-Ram, writer - Feb 12, 2013 12:11 PM ET
In Los Angeles' Century City mall
FORTUNE -- In his second entry in our continuing series of contrasting store photos, reader Howard Kaplan paid another visit Monday afternoon to the Westfield Century City mall, half-way between Beverly Hills and Westwood, California.
The photo at right and the first one below were taken at the Apple (AAPL) store at about 3 p.m.
The next two were shot at the mall's Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 24, 2012 8:59 PM ET
Hundreds queued up in Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong
FORTUNE -- Friday's launch of the iPad mini -- scheduled to hit 34 countries before the day was through -- began overnight in a half dozen Pacific Rim cities.
The turnout wasn't as big as for a new iPhone, but if you wanted to buy the mini at an Apple (AAPL) store, you had to stand in line.
Below: The first videos.
Sydney:Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 2, 2012 5:07 AM ET
Nine satellite trucks, zero protestors and longer lines than last year for the iPhone 4S
FORTUNE -- We're here at the big glass cube of Apple's (AAPL) flagship Fifth Avenue store for the launch of the iPhone 5. The queue of customers isn't as long as the 1,200 that greeted the iPad 2, but at 7 a.m. -- one hour before doors open -- I counted 710 heads, 52% more than MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 21, 2012 7:32 AM ET
Despite the map flap, customers queue up from Sydney to New York for Cupertino's latest
FORTUNE -- While the tech press obsessed about the shortcomings of Apple's (AAPL) new Maps app -- the only one currently available on the new iPhone 5 -- customers in nine countries were queuing up to buy the thing.
It's too early to say whether the lines that greeted Apple's latest mobile phone are longer or shorter MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 21, 2012 5:42 AM ET
By Sunday there were 7 in the queue -- each of them for commercial purposes
FORTUNE -- In the popular imagination -- and in Samsung TV ads -- the people willing to wait in line for days to buy the newest Apple (AAPL) gewgaw are hopeless fanboys and fangirls who need to get a life.
That attitude is so 2007.
Today, occupying a space near enough to the front of an iPhone queue MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 16, 2012 4:28 PM ET
|America's economic mobility myth|
|The economy: The 2014 outlook|
|Snowden docs had NYTimes exec fearing for his life|
|Where should you put your money now?|
|Treasury closes the book on GM bailout with final stock sale|