It also wouldn't be that surprising if the bloom is a little bit off the new iPhone. Nothing stays hip forever in the fickle world of mobile devices. The pre-sale probably also helped to speed up the crowds.
It is, however, somewhat surprising in this recessionary era that people are still willing to waste valuable time lining up for the latest and greatest smartphone. I mean, for the vast majority of people, an iPhone or a new Palm Pre is strictly a discretionary buy rather than an essential purchase. (See Apple's 3G S Draws Decent Crowds and Palm Pre-Day: Crowded, But Not Frenzied.)
It will be interesting to see what Apple can do for next year's upgrade. I highly doubt that the vendor will be able to introduce a Long Term Evolution (LTE) proto-4G phone by summer 2010. The chips that support the technology aren't available yet and are expected to be too big and power-hungry to allow for a sleek design within that time-frame. 2011 or even 2012 is far more likely for the first LTE iPhone. So I suspect that means more software and interface tweaking for the next model. (See LTE Phones Will Lag Behind Networks .)
– Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung