The scene at New York’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store Friday morning is what you’d expect to see from a flagship retail location on a product launch day -- police, security, and store employees floating around out front to ensure customers get safely in and out -- and hordes of media to capture it all.
The most hardcore Apple customers have been waiting in this line for more than two weeks, though numbers ballooned in the last 48 hours leading up to this morning's official product release. Police are quick and aggressive to quell the slightest problems, lest anything get out of hand. A slight shove got a chorus of cops to approach, shouting “No pushing!” several times.
The store is being held to its legal fire code capacity, so the only way to get in is to be at the front of the line when someone exits. Here’s an approximation of how employees are wrangling the line around the block before granting access to the store:
This reporter was completely unable to get inside the store, but here's the likely scene, based on how previous launches have gone at this location: entering customers are shown to one of several stations, where an Apple employee will sell them new devices of their choosing. If these customers want, other employees are on hand to help them set up their devices in-store, but almost everyone will want to instantly take them home and activate them themselves.
It's something approaching a classy, lucrative assembly line: a customer leaves, having paid for his or her new gadgets, and a fresh customer enters, eager to do the same. It all suggests great expectations for Apple and the iPhone 6.