updated 12:13 pm EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
Traditional lineup seen as barometer of product demand
[Updated with more recent picture] A long line has begun forming outside of Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City, photos show. The people are queued for tomorrow's launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c; while the Fifth Avenue store is normally open 24 hours a day, the new iPhones will only become available from Apple Stores at 8AM local time. Apple is expected to close the Fifth Avenue location for a few hours to prepare for tomorrow morning's rush.
Lineups have traditionally formed outside of the outlet for every iPhone and iPad launch. The length of each line has sometimes been seen as a barometer of public interest, and media outlets regularly turn to Fifth Avenue partly for this reason. As a result, though, businesses and other publicity-seeking groups will get in line without having a genuine interest in buying iPhones.
Update: a user from Instagram, going by the handle "midnight917," has posted a picture of the line as it was at 12am Friday morning Eastern time (seen below).