Wow, was the line ever long.
It was release day of the second iPhone; June 2008. This was in the time prior to being able to preorder a phone from your house and it arrive for you to set up whenever you wanted to (basically, immediately). No, this was back in the days when you had to show up at the store early in the morning and wait for them to open, hoping they had enough stock for everyone to get one (they didn't; not even close) and enough staff to get it done at a decent hour (they did!)
I believe I arrived around 6am, three hours before the device went on sale, and was somewhere around 60th in line at this location. I remember sitting there with my current phone, a Sprint Fusic, which was fabulous for its day, thinking about what a fantastic upgrade I was about to receive. I was not wrong.
The best memories of the day were the people there in line with me; they were all fabulous. Everyone was excited as the app store was being launched at the same time, and these new devices had a much faster network speed than the original device released the prior year. We were about to receive a device that was years ahead of the competition and we were right about how great it would be.
I was fortunate to get a phone, but a lot of people who waited in line that day were not so fortunate. They waited a lot longer than I did (I got mine around 11am) and ended up not getting a phone.
If this were the only way to get a phone today, I probably wouldn't do it as I really hate to stand in a line, but for this one time I am very glad that I did wait. Yes, the device was great, but the experience of being there for something special, with other people who also recognized how special it was, made the day.