For most people, the idea of queuing up outside a shop in central London for almost 36 hours just to be the first people in the country to get their hands on the new iPad 2 would seem ludicrous - for Jewels Lewis from Notting Hill there was no other choice.
"I was fourth in line for the original iPad so I was going to make sure I was number one for the iPad 2," the finance executive told us this morning having spent the night outside the Apple Store on Regent Street - and he wasn't alone. While there were only six or seven people directly outside the store, around the corner on Hanover Street a sort of Apple-branded shanty town had sprung up, with sleeping bags, blow-up beds and of course iPhones, iPods and iPads as far as the eye could see.
Craig Fox from Cambridge and Daniel James from London, both self-proclaimed Apple fanboys, said there had been a good atmosphere overnight despite the chilly temperatures. They had got in line at 4pm yesterday, which compared to Jewels who arrived at 7.30am yesterday morning, almost seemed reasonable. "I managed six hours sleep last night but Daniel only got one," Craig told us. Asked why they were willing to put themselves through such hardship for the iPad 2, they both just said that it was another Apple product and that was all they needed to know. They said they were looking forward to using FaceTime on the iPad 2 and checking out iMovie and GarageBand working on the new device.
The iPad 2 will go on sale today at 5pm in stores but went on sale in the UK early this morning at 1am. However those who waited up in the hope some of the online orders would be despatched within 24 hours were disappointed as Apple seems to have not set any units aside for this purpose. The waiting time for delivery of the iPad 2 in the UK was 2-3 weeks last night but is currently running at 3-4 weeks. A lot of people who tried to get their iPad 2 online last night faced some infuriating error messages with the ordering process taking over an hour in some cases.
In the line on Hanover Street, it was quite easy to tell where the line of overnight queuers ended and the early morning additions began. The vacant stares and coffee-fuelled jumpiness gave way to more calm and serene personas who were staring lovingly at their iPad, which they will soon toss on the scrap heap in favour of the newer, slimmer, faster, lighter and cheaper iPad 2.
We will be keeping you up to date as we get more information from retailers and from Apple as to how the launch day is going. Let us know if you are in the queue or if you've tried to order one online.