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iPhone 4 launch: In line at the Santa Monica store

I'm in line right now at the Santa Monica Apple Store for the iPhone 4 launch, and, just like in the rest of the country, the line is just plain huge. I was here for the iPad launch, and it's probably three times the size that line took up when it was at its longest. Of course, there are tents and camping chairs in the middle of this line, and that one was mostly people just standing around, but there's no question this is a much bigger line.

Apple Store employees haven't shown up outside yet (the store opens in about an hour from now), but the mood is genial -- even about 500 people back in line, where I am to try and get my Retina Display-enabled handset, people are expecting to pick up phones. But we'll see -- I assume if they don't have enough, they'll come out and tell us before too long.

One other thing: halfway down the line, there's a sign up that says "Spot for $ale." I can't imagine that anyone would take that offer quite yet, but I guess we'll see what happens if it turns out supplies are limited.

(Updates after the break!)

6:06am PST: Apple employee spotted. "We've got plenty of phones. We haven't counted them yet, but we have plenty of phones. They expected this."

6:31am PST: The line moved, but only because they asked people to pack up the tents. Rumor has it that some line waiters have been here since Tuesday, but the more likely story is 8:30pm last night.

7:05am PST: It's go time. The preorder line has begun moving, very slowly. There are probably over 1000 people here in both lines, way more than ever showed up at the iPad launch. Employees are still giving every indication that there are plenty of phones to go around, though.

7:54am PST: An Apple employee just walked down the line counting, and didn't tell anyone to leave. Seems like a good sign, no?

9:02am PST: Still here. The line is moving, but very slowly. The line's filling in behind me, too -- this is the busiest launch I've ever seen here at this store.

9:22am PST: The line is getting antsy, breaking up a bit. Rumor has it the spot for sale went for $200. I'm still here for you, dear readers -- if it was just me, I probably would have given up by now and come back this weekend.

9:47am PST: The line hasn't moved in 30 minutes or so -- someone said the activation computers are down inside. What a mess. At this point, I don't even want to buy a new iPhone any more. I'm giving it another 20 minutes or so, but if nothing moves, I'll go home and decide if I want to come back later.

10:48am PST: I'm back at home now. Gave up at about 10:30 -- the line wasn't moving at all. At the front of the line, they were only letting in people who had reserved iPhones already, so I'm guessing it would have easily been another few hours' wait, and I wasn't even at the back of the line any more. Very frustrating -- I like Apple as much as the next guy, but waiting for over four hours just to pay $200 for a phone upgrade I don't even need? I'll pass on that experience. I probably will still get an iPhone 4, although it'll be a few days from now, when I can just walk into the store and put down my money.

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I'm in line right now at the Santa Monica Apple Store for the iPhone 4 launch, and, just like in the rest of the country, the line is just...