The coronation of the heralded iPhone in America's tech/geek capital began 10 minutes before 6 p.m. as the downtown San Francisco Apple store shed its temporary window drapings to the roar of the waiting hordes.
Oversize iPhones in the windows counted down the minutes as Apple employees began a bizarre ritual. Half of the black-shirted workers formed a receiving line while the other half jogged through the front door to high fives and cheers.
As the countdown clocks in the windows hit zero, employees managed to push back the crush of onlookers and reporters, and the first people in line sauntered through the front door. The crowds cheered and chanted, "iPhone! iPhone!" (Seriously.)
Finally, the first man appeared clutching his prize. The line appeared to move fairly quickly as excited fanboys and girls made their way to the entrance.