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Here's how it was explained to me by someone who says they understand what I saw at the 5th Ave Apple store this morning.
1. The people lined up there were employees of resellers, companies who buy iPhones and resell them overseas and online at higher prices.
2. They line up there every day, in case there are any they can buy. Most days there aren't.
3. They come back the next day, because there's money to be made. These people aren't there to buy phones for themselves.
4. The line went round the corner and down the block.
5. This would be a good story for a business reporter to dig into. Imho.
Click on the pic below for a blowup. Sorry for the lack of clarity in the picture. I might ride by there tomorrow morning to see if I can find out more about what's going on.