Waiting for an iPhone was exactly the experience I expected.
Apple handed out bottles of SmartWater and coupons for a free coffee at the Starbucks next door. The Kona Grill, a nearby restaurant, gave away pizza and Martin+Osa handed out 20% off coupons. The other people in line were nice, several had iBooks with them and many did not already have cell service from AT&T.
There were 12 people already waiting when I showed up at one of the two Apple stores in Austin at 9:15. The line had grown to about 50 when the store opened at 10:00 and 150 by the time the TV news arrived later in the morning.
At 2:00, employees closed the store and taped black paper over the windows. A nice touch to build anticipation.
The crowd yelled out a 60-second countdown to 6:00, when the black paper was torn down and the doors opened revealing the entire store covered in iPhone displays.
Supply seemed plentiful and each person in line was allowed to buy two, so I doubt many people will double their money on eBay. But a woman paid the girl in line behind me $200 to buy her one.
Each shopper got a special branded bag.
Of course, the packaging is great.