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This morning at 8am, Apple will unleash its newest phone, the iPhone 6, upon the city and the world.
From left to right: the Upper East Side, Soho, and Meatpacking District Apple stores
Update: Here's what went down just after the 8am launch at Apple Fifth Avenue.
If you think you can just saunter up to an Apple store at 7am, coffee in hand, wait a few hours, and leave with an iPhone 6 at, like, 9:30—guess again. When we visited Apple's Upper East Side, Meatpacking, and Soho stores last night, all three boasted multiple-block-spanning lines 300+ people deep. Click through for breakdowns of the wait scenes, and check back for more updates on the madness as it unfolds.
Lines to Crate and Barrel on the UES
By 2014, waiting in line for an Apple launch at the brand's Fifth Avenue flagship is something of a badge of honor in certain circles. No matter that the phone's been available for preorder for days, or that you could take a train to a Westchester or Long Island mall today and walk out with a phone fairly easily—once you've waited outside the glass cube, you're in the club. And as of last night, there were several hundred members who had just joined.
The first hundred or so iPhone 6 devotees were patiently seated behind metal gates, in a line that snaked along the plaza outside of the Apple store. Many had camping chairs; most had blankets; the smartest ones had portable chargers. A blue-shirted employee told us that the first person arrived for the line "a few weeks ago," well before the model was even launched. But the going hasn't been that rough—Apple's been handing out water bottles, and Magnolia supplied cupcakes. Friends brought Starbucks, and Seamless delivered.
Those who were "less dedicated" lined up along FAO Schwarz down 58th Street. That line ran north along Madison Avenue past a Chase branch and Bally, then hopped back across 59th Street and back west toward Fifth Avenue—as of 6:15pm, the line ended just short of the Crate and Barrel entrance. A group of tourists by FAO told us they showed up earlier this afternoon, so their wait has been less strenuous. Regardless, they've got the help of T-Mobile, who's enlisted pink-shirted temps to hold places in line for up to 15 minutes for bathroom breaks—provided the line-waiters post a photo on social media with the hashtag #iPhone6Launch.
OVER IT Apple Fans in Soho
At 6:30pm, the massive line at the Soho Apple store had already stretched all the way around Prince Street, up Greene, and down Houston, though about half of the 272 people (we overheard a store employee relay the official count to another staff member) had only arrived that afternoon and still seemed to be in good spirits. We couldn't tell you when the first person in line got there—when asked, he only shook his head and crossed his arms—an understandable reaction from someone who was being mobbed with questions (many Soho shoppers stopped by to talk to the first few people in line, most of whom gave them the same response). One passerby even shouted, "Guys, go home!"
Towards the front of the line, there were milk crates and even an office rolling chair, but by the end, the dearth of seating, and, more importantly, places to lie down, suggested that few people would be sleeping. As for food, people took turns getting pizza or Halal. Moral of the story: iPhone launches are a serious business.
A Sleepy Group Hang in Meatpacking
If you've ever questioned the sanity of people who camp out for Apple products, know this: when the apocalypse comes, we'll all be scrambling around, looking for food and shelter, while they'll be like, "Oh, want to come hang in this condo I constructed out of cardboard boxes? I ordered Seamless. Also, need to use my Mophie?"
The level of preparedness we witnessed outside of the Meatpacking District Apple store was unreal. Nearly all of the 300 or so folks in the line—which almost reached the river—had a folding chair, a fleece blanket, and an iPad loaded with movies. People stretched out on stacks of flat-packed cardboard boxes and yoga mats, sat in circles playing cards, ordered pizza, and, in a few cases, brazenly fished line beers out of ice-packed coolers. Friends of the line-sitters periodically pulled up to the curb to hand them things like pillows, sweatshirts, and soup dumplings. It felt like the sleepy tail end of a party, when everyone just really wants to go home.
· How a Professional Line Sitter Preps for the iPhone 6 Launch [Racked NY]
· All iPhrenzy Posts [Racked NY]