Since Apple released plans for a new iPad at their unveiling ceremony on March 7, fans have been waiting in anticipation for the launch to finally get their hands on the new gadget.
From the UK to Australia, thousands of fans, across nine countries, joined the back of the queue. In London, Apple aficionados queued for up to five days.
In the south of England, where the weather was cold and wet, many queued outside the West Quay shopping centre in Southampton from as early as 4.30AM, hoping to be one of the first to buy the new tablet.
In anticipation for the queues West Quay security had placed external barriers outside the Apple store to allow for a regulated number of people to be allowed into the shop, preventing a crush.
David Monroe, 22, a student from Southampton said: “I’ve taken the day off university to buy the new iPad, but I know that it’s going to be worth it.
“I’ve been here about two hours and have another hour or so to wait, but it’s all good.”
An hour until the store opens, the size of the queue indicated that Mr Monroe isn’t the only one taking a day off to buy the new iPad.
Claire Cooper, 34, a graphic designer from Basingstoke, said: “I made sure I had the day booked off for the launch so I could get my hands on one.
“I convinced my manager that it would help me to do work on the move but I’m sure that won’t happen at all.”
Half an hour before opening and one section of the crowd control barrier was already filled with around 30 people. Another had been set up around the corner, with Apple staff regulating the members of the public so no one could sneak in front of anyone else.
An Apple sales assistant, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We expect this to be a busy day today. I definately expect to be working hard and sell a lot more than we did of the iPad 2 on it’s launch.”
Not all the people queuing for the release were there of their own free will: Chris Nicholson, a Service Engineer from Southampton said: “The dog woke me up at 4.15am. If the dog hadn’t of woke me up I would have got one next week.”
The release of the new iPad has upset some Apple consumers. Mr Monroe said: “I was quite annoyed that my iPad 2 is now pretty much old news after just a year but what can you do?”
The new iPad boasts a four times higher screen resolution, a new five megapixel camera, and 4g ultra-fast connection capabilities. However, the 4g connection isn’t yet available in the UK, and won’t be seen until near the end of 2012.
Main Image: Ian McCreery