Doors of Apple Stores across the UK were flung open at 8am this morning to swathes of queuing wannabe new iPad owners. Some had been waiting since Sunday last week to be first in line for the new tablet.
Pocket-lint was up early doors this morning to get the low down on all the Apple queuing fun. How can a queue be fun, you ask? We're not entirely sure ourselves, but those waiting certainly seem to think so.
There were a lot of recognisable faces from the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 launch, as well as some new additions to the flock. We grabbed as many as we could before they burst into the store to get the lowdown on what they liked about Apple’s new tablet.
Apple's new Covent Garden store is rapidly becoming the spiritual home of every Apple launch. The queue this time around was brimming on the ridiculous, going all the way down the road from the shop, looping round and then coming back on itself. Those who did turn up while we were waiting expressed a genuine look of fear when they saw the beast of a wait that lay ahead of them.
As per usual though, there were the few bastions of Apple fandom, waiting in line at the front. They were looking relatively dishevelled after nights without sleep undertaken to pick up the new tablet. Word on the street was that people were flogging places on eBay to those who didn't want to queue. But at the front was the hardcore and they weren't shifting for anybody.
Dipak Varsani, #1, 2 x black iPad
"I’ve been queuing up since Thursday 1am"
"I just brought my iPhone, a chair and some extra food."
"This is my third time queuing. I was sixth or seventh place in the 4S queue."
"I want to be the first to have it on release day."
"The Retina Display excites me most. Everything is clearer, its all full HD."
As good as the Covent Garden Apple Store is, however, anyone who's anyone waits for things to kick off outside the traditional Regent Street venue. This is where the big boys play and, if you want to be first in line, expect at least a week's waiting. The whole building was wrapped in waiting iFans, with press hounding the first 20 or so in the queue, all of whomhad been separated off into a small pen in front of the store.
Us being the evil journalists we are, we naturally did the same thing and grabbed as many as we could. That was in between the constant hoards of people turning up with the intention of viral marketing or handing out freebies. Close to launch though, about ten minutes to eight, all eyes were on those big glass doors; the whole lot of them revving up to run into the shop and grab the new tablet.
Zohaib Ali, #1, 2 x white iPad
"I got the new iPad!"
"I got two... they made me pay more money!"
To find out more about Zohaib, check out Pocket-lint's "Why do people queue for an iPad?" feature.
Craig Fox, #2, 2x black iPad.
"I found out about eight or nine o’clock I could get the iPad from PC world."
"Someone went and got it for me, I had already been here two days."
"The usual gang is here. Zoobie and co."
Andrew Bracken, #20, 1 x white iPad
"I like queuing up for the atmosphere, the iPad and a chance to get some attention for what we are doing."
"I’m working on a digital startup called Get Dealy. Its a digital deals platform for Mac apps."
"I’ve only been queuing for 24 hours. I’m at the back of this front queue."
And that was it, the Apple fanfair was over. No more people in blue T-shirts clapping, no more running to grab five tablets. Just a cold, quiet Regent Street and a day's worth of new iPads to be sold.
Those who did emerge first were subjected to the usual media scrum of interviews and photos (which we were part of, admittedly) - leaving them feeling like a celebrity for a brief moment, we suppose. Many even ran out grasping the tablet in hand like some sort of trophy.
It's definitely a lot of harmless fun, however. And we imagine Apple enjoys it quite a bit itself.
Would you queue for an iDevice? Let us know in the comments below...