The Mac faithful, gadget enthusiasts and even a pack of street clowns crowded the streets of downtown San Francisco today in hopes of obtaining an iPhone.
At the Apple store in San Francisco's Union Square a 150-strong queue had covered nearly two blocks by mid-day on Friday.
Queues outside stores for the iPhone's exclusive operator AT&T/Cingular meanwhile were significantly shorter.
At an AT&T store just a few blocks away from the Apple store, only 17 people had lined up, and further up the street at a Cingular wireless store a mere 12 people occupied the iPhone queue by mid-day.
The line outside the Apple store started forming on Thrusday around 8am, when Jerry Taylor rolled out a carpet on which he positioned a comfortable lawn chair.
When Andrew Velis arrived at around 6pm, the line had grown to about 50 people. "I'm a big Apple follower," admitted Velis, a student at the University of San Francisco, who also owns a Macbook.
Velis has never owned a smartphone before, but told vnunet.com that the features of the iPhone drove him to queue up for the device. "It just brings it to a different level," he declared.
Further down the line was Carlo Stern, a construction manager who was purchasing a phone on behalf of his boss - and giving Stern a second one as a reward for standing in line.
"I wasn't even into the whole iPhone thing," said Stern. "But pretty much whatever comes out, he needs to have."
Other users were more enthusiastic about the device. Arno Gourdol, an engineering manager at Adobe who took the day off to wait in line, sported a shirt reading 'Steve Jobs for president'.
When Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in January, Gourdol instantly decided that he was going to buy one.
"The other cellphones suck, and it's a great iPod, and you can get internet access. I can't wait to get rid of my current cellphone," Gourdol declared, holding up his Nokia phone.
Others, however, might end up buying an iPhone more by accident. The Peepshow Minigolf clown troupe spontaneously set up small miniature golf holes in public places as a performance art.
With the launch of the iPhone only hours away, the group found themselves standing fourth in line and at the centre of the iPhone frenzy.
"We made the decision to come out yesterday morning when we heard people were lining up," explained clown Jumbalina.
"We came out here because we thought it would be funny, but then we decided to stay for the duration."
Peepshow Minigolf clown 'The Professor' added: "We're putting the circus back in media circus."
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