10:32AM ET: Indeed, depending on what employee you talk to, in-store activation via iTunes is either "slow" or "down" -- but either way, they're handing you the phone unactivated, which needs to be completed by connecting to iTunes from the comfort of your home. Beware: if you're upgrading, your old SIM will be immediately bricked, so you'll be phoneless until you complete the activation!
10:21AM ET: We're hearing that Apple's activation servers are having intermittent problems, with lines coming to halt at both Apple and AT&T stores, and that some carrier stores worldwide are sending people home because they can't activate phones. Stranger still, some people are being told that they can "activate at home using iTunes." We're getting more info as fast as we can, we'll let you know.
9:42AM CT: Things are wild in Chicago as well -- at least 500 strong at the Apple flagship on Michigan Avenue, 100 at the AT&T flagship on State, and at least 200 at the AT&T store on Chicago. Austin and Andy here started waiting at 3PM yesterday, through some major rain -- that's nerd dedication.
Keep going past the break for updates from Chicago, NYC, the rest of the US, and all the other international mayhem. Also, be sure to hit us up with your own pictures and experiences at the email address above!
Update (live from the Cube): It is an absolute zoo at Apple's 5th Avenue store in New York. While the line doesn't seem as long as last year, the feeling of desperation is considerably thicker. And yes, the hippies are here -- they got new sunglasses. See below.
7:36AM ET: Unlike the first iPhone launch, people in line seem to be slightly informed about their position or the protocol for getting into the store. On the other hand, Apple seems to be far more in control this time. Still, the amount of yelling makes it seem like a riot could break out at any moment. We're going to hit the crowd and hear what's on the minds of the obsessive, twisted individuals waiting this out.
8:01AM ET: They're going in!
8:11AM ET: And they're in! Apple employees are doing their ego-booster / cult thing by standing at the door and cheering like maniacs. Same as last year, just way, way more G's.
8:19AM ET: And they're coming out! About 15 minutes after it all began, customers are slowly trickling out with phones in hand. Here's wishing you good luck, AT&T network!
Keep reading after the break for more from the cube,
7:55AM ET: You're not going to believe your eyes, but our main man Greg Packer is not only in this line... he's at the head of it! Greg tells us he was shepherded into line by the kind souls here who knew him from last year -- and he's ready to sign a new contract with AT&T. We're only a few minutes from the start of the mayhem... stay tuned!
8:59AM ET: "Just got my 3G iPhone from one of the AT&T stores in NYC. Some details: 1st in line arrived at midnight; I was number 14 arriving at 6:00 am; no 16GB iPhones (only 50 8GB); according to the store manager, none of the AT&T stores received the 16GB model." [Thanks, William]
8:37AM ET: From inside the 5th Ave. Apple store. [Thanks, Scott]
While you slept the iPhone 3G made its way to Japan and the backpacked through Europe with a little 00:01 launch celebration (puff puff, 'ere) with T-Mobile in The Netherlands, scroll on down for all the awesomeness.
The iPhone 3G has landed -- in New Zealand anyway. Let us tell you, it was an absolute madhouse. Everyone kept mentioning that for low-key Kiwis, this kind of thing was total pandemonium. Above: iPhone Jonny getting completely swarmed by reporters after he walked out of the Auckland Voda store. (And for the record, the other two midnight launch stores hadn't opened yet while Jonny was getting his.) More live launch action below.
4:59PM in Auckland, New Zealand - We paid a visit to the soon-to-be first ten iPhone 3G owners waiting for Vodafone's midnight New Zealand launch -- despit the cold, people seem in pretty good spirits. More soon as the launch gets under way.
Midnight in Auckland - The New Zealand swarm begins! Hundreds gathered to line up down the block and way around the corner for a shot at a device.
8:49PM in Tokyo, Japan: Line around the block and past the train station at Softbank store in Harajuku [Thanks, Kristoppher T.]
3:37PM in Denmark [Thanks, Patrick S.]
Japan should be going off sometime soon -- send in some shots, people!
Oh, here they are:
4:15 PM in Tokyo, Japan: About 30 people are lining in front of SoftBank flagship store, which opens at 7 AM tomorrow. [Thanks, Thomas Bertrand]
1:02AM in Vancouver, BC: "Absolutely no one is lined up anywhere in Vancouver, BC. (Both Fido and Rogers locations.)" [Thanks, Michael Bettiol]
6:45PM in Sydney, Austrailia [Thanks, David Pincus]
11:00AM in Denmark, Copenhagen: "My friend and I started the line in Denmark at 4:30PM (GMT+1) on July 9th and it will be available at 00:00 on July 11th." Sounds like their ten tent was lit on fire or something... stay safe, kids! "But it is totally worth it. We are now around 20 in line and have got a lot of Danish media attention." Ah, that explains it. [Thanks, Preben Uhrskov]
08:17AM in Palo Alto, CA: "We interviewed the first 3 guys waiting in line @ the Apple Store in Palo Alto, CA. last night. They talked about their love for the iPhones and the big plan on utilizing public utility to power their Xbox 360 to play Guitar Hero." Public power was never put to such good use! [Thanks, yummyporky]
00:28AM in Omotesando, Japan: "Hi, I'm now lining up at Harajuku area, about a few hundred meters away from the shop. Japanese media have estimated the crowd to be around 700-1k. I'm now around 6xx." He got to shake hands with the CEO of SoftBank, pretty fancy, but it sounds like he won't be getting his iPhone for a good long while, CEO germs or no. [Thanks, Cheung Ka Wai]
10:00PM in Gothenburg, Sweden: We got a blank MMS forwarded to our email. [Thanks, 467064*****]
11:50PM in Wellington, NZ: "Just got back from the Wellington Vodafone launch with these images." The real question is, where did you get those snazzy jackets? [Thanks, Alice Gott]
05:36PM in New York, NY: "I am 14yr old and my father is giving me an iPhone for my birthday. I am in line at the 5th avenue store (26th in line) and all around me people are selling last gen iPhones for as low as $50. I am considering buying one of those instead of paying $299 for a new one." Don't do it, little man! You'll regret it the rest of your life. Or for like, four days.
04:42PM in Calgary, AB: "Just drove past the one of the few stores in Canada that will be opening early tomorrow for the launch. Looks like Calgary hasn't caught the fever cause it was completely dead. I'm sure if a crowd forms tomorrow it will be a frenzy of people thinking there in for another free pancake breakfast that have been happening all week as part of the annual Calgary Stampede. Just another testament that Rogers has left a bad taste in the mouth of Canadians." [Thanks, Loren]
2:50PM in Palo Alto, CA: Looks like there's 3+people, the chairs in the back there are totally empty, which is wierd. Also, the lady in the foreground on the right is blocking Numero Uno's face. [Thanks Andrew Ryan]
6:16PM in Montreal: "All quiet on the Quebecois front, as both the main Rogers and Fido stores (across the street from each other) on Ste-Catherine are devoid of iPhone campers as of 30 minutes ago. Attached is some photo documentation. Sorry about the over exposure, it's not my camera. If you want to do me a solid and through in a link in the attribution to propellerhead.ca that'd be right nice of you. Or not." [Thanks Adam]
12:25AM: About 330 people in line @ Telia flagshipstore @ Kungsgatan in Stockholm. [Thanks Kristofer Blomdahl]
4:30PM in Calgary, AB: "People are camped out at a few locations, even thru the HUGE hail storm calgary just got blasted with. Some are lines up at a few local malls as well, none at the location I'll be going to at midnight... yet. Lets hope things dry up between now and then." [Thanks, Mike S]
9PM at London's Regent St. Apple Store: "Note says that the guys queuing are selling their number one position in the queue on ebay with a link. Sorry didn't write link down." [Thanks, Maani S.]
2:46AM in Madrid, Spain: Our brother and sister from Engadget Spanish, Carlos and Drita, are in Spain in the wee hours of the morning waiting it out at numbers 3 and 4 in line at a Telefonica. Here's hoping they nab phones quickly and painlessly!
10:36PM Rotterdam, The Netherlands: The line runs about 500 people deep.
10:39PM Rotterdam, The Netherlands: DJ Meta mixes an iPhone from within an iPhone 3G.
11:58PM Rotterdam, The Netherlands: The iPhone 3Gs arrive by armored car.
00:00AM Rotterdam, The Netherlands: The iPhone 3Gs are handed to the T-Mobile store manager.
00:09AM Rotterdam, The Netherlands: After being whisked outside you're looking at the first iPhone 3G owner in The Netherlands.
Early AM, Indianapolis: iPhone 3G camping at an Indiana mall grabs the attention of the The Man. [Thanks, Joe G]
5:55AM in Chicago, IL