Thinking about getting an iPhone 3G? If you live a major city, you'll be in for a wait: Lineups at Apple stores across the country range from 10 minutes (in Glendale, Wisconsin) to 5 hours (the 5th Avenue store in New York City). Many stores have little or no inventory, and when they do a lineup quickly forms. Here's a quick roundup of the stores we called:
New York City, 5th Ave: 4 to 5 hours
New York City, Soho: 4 hours
New York City, 14th St.: 3.5 hours
Beverly Hills, CA: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Seattle, WA: 3 hours (out of stock)
Knoxville, TN: no line (out of stock)
Honolulu, HI: 20 minutes (out of stock)
Minnetonka, MN: 1 hour (out of stock)
Glendale, WI: 10 to 15 minutes (very little stock)
West Des Moines, IA: no line (very little stock)
Although the lines in major cities are what you might call insane, Apple stores in more out-of-the-way spots like Glendale, Wisconsin are much more reasonable. The downside there is they have very little stock compared to the big guys, so your best bet would be to call ahead to make sure they have stock and go early. The best place to buy an iPhone 3G that we could find was West Des Moines, Iowa, whose staff told us there was no line but stock was extremely limited (though still available).
If you're thinking about bypassing all this lineup madness by going to an AT&T store, forget it. Six AT&T stores in six different states all told us they were out of stock and were holding the few models they were getting in for people who had ordered them, so it's going to be a while before you can just walk into an AT&T store and pick one up. The average estimated wait time for iPhone 3G, once ordered: 12 days.