iPhone 4 Launches After Die-Hards Wait In Line For Days

Fans lined up 48 hours before the release of the new phone, which now features video chat and a sleeker design.

NEW YORK — Apple took another step on the road to smart-phone domination on Thursday (June 24), releasing the iPhone 4, an updated version of its popular mobile device. Hundreds lined up at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City for the privilege of being the first to own the new technology.

Evan Wiendczak of Boston was the first in line. He arrived at the store around 7 a.m. on Tuesday, a full 48 hours before the iPhone 4 was scheduled to go on sale. "I wasn't planning on waiting in line this long," he explained, "but a group of friends of mine decided it would be a fun thing to do over the summer — kick off the summer vacation for us."

Wiendczak seemed noticeably drained from the experience, saying that the first thing he would do with his new phone would be to call his mother before heading right to sleep.

Wiendczak had plenty of company over those two days. The line wrapped around the block, with many queuing up Wednesday evening. Greg Joswiak, Apple's VP of iPod and iPhone product marketing, was impressed by the fan turnout. "I've heard it's the biggest [crowd] we've ever had for anything. ... People are so excited."

The new iPhone 4 has a handful of new features, not the least of which is a notably thinner design. Instead of a rounded back, the phone is completely flat on both sides, and is now rimmed with stainless steel, which serves to protect its innards while also acting as an antenna. Other improvements include a higher resolution screen, a five-megapixel camera (with flash) and improved battery life.

The feature that seemed to be getting the most attention among line-sitters was the iPhone 4's new video chat functionality. Called Facetime, the device uses a forward-facing camera to let two people communicate via video and voice over WiFi. Robert Garcia, who waited in line for 12 hours, said Facetime was going to herald a new age of dating. "No more cheating girlfriends! I can make her show me where she's at!"

With the initial reviews being positive and the usual crowd of Apple fanboys and girls onboard, it looks like the launch of the iPhone 4 went as well as can be expected. It'll be a few hours before we see if Apple runs into any activation issues with the device, which put a damper on some of the enthusiasm surrounding the iPhone 3GS launch, but for the time being people are just enjoying the thrill of knowing everyone else is looking at them with tech envy.

For more on the iPhone 4, including which games to download first, head on over to Multiplayer.MTV.com.