The View from the Queue: Lining Up for the iPhone 4

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If you ever for a moment are tempted to doubt the marketing genius of Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs, consider this: On a steamy-hot day in Manhattan, hundreds of adult human beings with careers and responsibilities rolled out of bed before 5 a.m., made their way to Prince Street in Soho, unfolded camping chairs and umbrellas, and braced themselves for hours of standing and shuffling under the summer sun -- all to get their hands on a new phone.

Or, actually, not even all that new of a phone, but an incrementally improved version of the same one many, if not most, of the line-standers already owned.

We're talking, of course, about the iPhone 4, with its front-facing video camera, its multitasking capability and its messianic aura. This is the phone that's going to change everything, people! And if you don't believe us, just ask some of the folks who put their lives on hold for a day to get one first.

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