So far they are alternating between 2 lines. One for people who pre-ordered the phone online, and another for everyone else (including if, like me, you just authorized an account). One person from one line at a time, alternating back and forth. The pre-order line is pretty long now.
Also, you MUST be the primary account holder to get your phone at an Apple Store. We were just told this. If you are a secondary, even an authorized agent, you may NOT get your phone at an Apple Store -- but you can try the AT&T store, apparently. A friend of mine had to leave the line to go do this.
We've already had one person throw a mini-fit about "having to get to work" and not wanting to stand in line. Hey, it's a free country. You can leave.
Spotted a guy with the Apple logo cleverly worked into a tribal tattoo on his leg. Too far away to get a pic, unfortunately.
Looking back at 7am: there were probably less than 100 people here. At 7, the Apple Store crew came up the hallway in the mall, clapping and yelling and raising the roof, as it were. Before that, the orange-shirted concierges did an admirable job of corralling the pre-approval and pre-order folks.
There's also a clever Cinnabon vendor here. If anyone who works at Cinnabon got a memo, let us know.
There are 2 more people in line ahead of me. Store employees are saying there is plenty of stock. No worries.
Closing up the computer, only 1 more person in front of me. At least, on this line. It's taking a little over 10 minutes per person, by my estimate. There's probably less than 30 people in line now.
Went to an account rep who normally deals with business customers (just luck of the draw on my part, looks like they've got most hands on deck today). Despite the fact that I went to Apple's site yesterday and filled out the billing address, etc. they will still ask you this stuff in the store. And they have to input it using those darn old-school POS handheld machines. The ones that make you tap way too many times.
Once the credit check goes through you sign for the contract, then pay for the phone (and sign for the charge). The only charges you incur will be for the phone, not the plan -- save a one-time activation fee if you're not an AT&T customer (which I wasn't). One really nice touch: when the rep saw I was cheaping out on text plans (got the $5 version with 200/month), he suggested Text Plus (iTunes link), which will send text via WiFi if possible. This will save me a ton in Gcal and RTM reminder texts.
Once the business end is done, you can go to a "creative specialist" who will help you get set up. For me, this meant activating the phone and making sure I had MobileMe sync. It worked, although I was getting EDGE and the rep was getting 3G. I'm already loving the stellar AT&T service, eh?
After that you're done! One quick note that people may appreciate, and something I really didn't appreciate until I got my grimy hands on a device: the screen is much more oleophobic than before. That means it is harder to get smudgy with your finger, face, etc. Pics to come later, but let's just say my greasy ear didn't leave a single smudge. Impressive.