The iPhone 4S, the latest iteration of Apple’s popular smartphone series hit stores in the United States and several other countries Friday morning. As Hayley Tsukyama reported , Steve Wozniak was one of the first in line in Los Gatos, Calif., to get his 4S:

Apple’s latest iPhone, the 4S, hit store shelves Friday at 8 a.m. across the country. This should be a big launch, with the handset coming to the nation’s top three carriers, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

In Los Gatos, Calif., the first one in line for the phone was Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who checked in to the store via foursquare on Thursday.

“The long wait begins. I’m first in line. The guy ahead was on the wrong side, and he’s pissed,” Wozniak wrote. Wozniak also unlocked the “Jobs badge” from foursquare, which reads, “Here’s to the crazy ones. ThankYouSteve.”

Bloomberg reported that the pre-orders of the phone sold out Thursday — the 16GB model on Sprint was sold out, while Verizon and AT&T Web sites showed a two- to three-week shipping estimate for the phone.

Other factors could affect the demand for this iPhone. Many consumers said they were disappointed by the new version, while analysts predict that the reaction to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’s death could produce more demand for the final phone of the Jobs era. Still, lines across the country aren’t quite as big as they have been for other product launches, according to news reports and Twitter descriptions.

Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt relayed the sad tale of three men who had planned to sell their (No. 3, 4, and 5) spots in line to Apple fans coming to the line late. But as of 6:30 a.m., DeWitt reported, there were no takers from the 261-person line.

That hasn’t been the case in Asia and Europe, where lines were much longer. Rob Shoesmith, the British blogger who camped out for 10 days for the phone as part of a promotional experiment, said that “thousands” were lined up at London’s Covent Garden store to get their hands on the phone.

Michael Rosenwald was at the Bethesda, Md., Apple store to join the queue of early morning risers waiting to get their hands on the iPhone 4S.

You can make the argument that the hundreds of people who lined up this morning in front of the downtown Bethesda Apple store are out of their minds. My wife made that case last night when I told her I’d be waking up at 4:30 a.m. to line up for the new iPhone.

Go ahead. Call us lame. Call us losers. Call us lemmings. But you would have trouble finding a happier place in the D.C. area this morning — so early, even before the sun came up. We may be diehard gadget nuts, but we are also a community. And we might even be a new secular religion, as I wrote after Steve Jobs died.

People buying donuts and coffee for each other? Yes. (I did.) People talking about their families? Yes. People offering tech support? Yes.

The Apple employees actually walked down the line — more than 100 buyers were here before 7 a.m. — handing out coffee and donuts.

“Cream and sugar?” they asked.

I can’t get that service at home.

Met a lovely guy standing behind me — Adam Harper, a 29-year-old strategy consultant. He was buying his first iPhone, and it was on Sprint, a teetering company that is offering the iPhone for the first time, hoping for salvation.

“I’ve wanted it and now they are offering it so I’m getting it,” he said. His mother later joined him in line.

She was buying her first iPhone, also on Sprint.

The guy in front of me — Reynaldo Valdez, 24 — got off at work at 2:30 a.m at Gordon Beirsch and was in line by about 5:30 a.m. “I slept a little,” he said, emphasizing the word little.

Looking to get an iPhone 4S? AP has a full list of where and when you can get it around the world:

FRIDAY IN THE U.S.: It’s available at Apple stores and those of partner wireless carriers, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless. It’s also available at some Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart stores and authorized resellers.

FRIDAY AROUND THE WORLD: Sales also began Friday in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K.

COMING SOON: It’s coming to 22 more countries by the end of October: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Steve Wozniak is first in line for the iPhone 4S