As I write this, we're smack in the middle of what's turning out to be another blowout day for the folks in Cupertino, Calif. It's the official launch day for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) new iPhone 4, and folks, it's crazy out there.
Reports are coming in from across the globe of long lines and wait times, despite the fact many of the hopefuls know they won't get their trembling hands on the device before it sells out. In fact, the Associated Press reported that Tokyo, Miami, San Francisco, and Charlotte, N.C. sold out within hours of opening. One man in Chicago sold his spot in line for $500, then bought a new spot in line for $200 ... essentially netting him the new phone for free!
I spoke with Matt Dessert, a friend of Fool tech editor Eric Bleeker, who was the 300th person in line at Seattle's University Village store. He'd come to the Apple store hoping to score an iPhone without a reservation. At 10:15 a.m. he estimated there were still about 1,000 people waiting, despite a sellout looking likely.
"Lining up since 5:00 a.m., I'm officially a nerd," he says. "But judging by this line, being a nerd has gone mainstream."
Let me state the really obvious here: iPhone 4 sales are going to blow away expectations. It's something Apple does routinely, and today is no exception.
What's more, I'm not sure how much of it is priced into the stock. After all, a lot of analyst estimates were based on projections before AT&T (NYSE: T ) offered its generous upgrade program to existing iPhone users. That promotion -- which allows any customer eligible for an upgrade in 2010 to buy the new phone at the lowest price -- is considered one of the leading reasons behind the explosive demand (600,000 pre-orders on the first day). It's also a neat strategic move that locks in customers for two more years and keeps them away from Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) , should it become a second carrier for the iPhone.
Now, I'm not one to hype a stock that's already sitting near all-time highs. Anyone buying in now should (as always) have a long-term perspective and be ready for some ups and downs. What I am saying, however, is that intangible bit of Apple genius -- seen in every product from iPod to iPad to iPhone -- is still alive and well, and giving competitors hell.