Few Queue Up Overnight on Apple's Turf for iPhone

In previous years, the Apple iPhone has prompted lines to form a day or more in advance of the phone's release. The first year the iPhone came out, the San Francisco line resembled a carnival, complete with

Peepshow mini-golf. But this year, it appears sanity has prevailed for the third-generation model, the iPhone 3G S -- becoming available today at AT&T and Apple stores nationwide.

While early reports were quick to mention the formation of a line in New York and San Francisco, the San Francisco iLine (thanks to @harrymccracken for that turn of phrase) has turned out to be a nonevent thus far.

By 4:30 a.m., barely a dozen diehards were queued up at the flagship Apple store by Union Square. As of 3:30 a.m., no one was waiting by the AT&T store at Market and Third, which opens at 7 a.m. for customers who pre-ordered a phone, and 10 a.m. for everyone else.

Technologizer's Harry McCracken, tweeting from the line at the Stonestown Mall's Apple Store, notes, "I've seen longer queues and more commotion at Walgreens' pharmacy on a weekend.

Over the past week, we've seen tremendous interest in the iPhone 3G S. And while I imagine the queues will gain traction as we get closer to opening hours (and more sane waking hours), I have to wonder aloud: Is the lack of pre-launch lines a sign that the iPhone is finally coming back into the stratosphere? Could it be this launch is, dare I say it, pedestrian to consumers shopping for a cell phone, as opposed to an event?

That the general consumer would be treating the iPhone 3G S differently doesn't surprise me. The phone looks the same as the current iPhone 3G from the outside; inside, the iPhone 3G S has some component tweaks (faster processor, more memory, more storage), and a few new features unique to the handset (video recording, voice control) but nothing especially groundbreaking.

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