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Apple fans queue for latest iPad
Hundreds of people gathered in London on Friday so they could be among the first to get their hands on Apple's latest iPad.
Gadget fans queued for days on Regent Street and for more than 31 hours outside Apple's flagship store in Covent Garden so they could purchase the third version of the tablet computer.
Jubilant fans emerged from the Covent Garden store included Dipak Varsani, who was first in the queue.
The 21-year-old student, from Neasden, north-west London, started queuing at 1am on Thursday.
He said: "I am very excited, I have been following this since it was announced, all the rumours and everything.
"Being able to finally have it in my hand is really an experience.
"It is better than the other iPads because of the HD resolution - you've got clearer movies and clearer games - I use it as a multimedia device."
Anjum Malik, 38, a leather goods salesman from East Ham, east London, added: "I got here at 3am yesterday and I spent all night here. I want to give the iPad to my wife.
"I love everything by Apple. The cost doesn't matter, I just love Apple products."
The latest model, which has a higher resolution screen than previous models and a five megapixel camera with auto focus and auto exposure, ranges in price from ?399 to ?659.
Despite competition from cheaper rivals the iPad remains the most popular tablet computer. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since its launch in 2010, including 40 million last year.
For many customers, visiting the store in person - instead of ordering online - gives them a chance to meet other die-hard Apple fans.
Craig Joppins, 24, from Romford, Essex, who was third in the queue, said: "I bumped into two people I'd met at a previous Apple event.
"This is my fifth time in an Apple queue and this has been my best experience so far without a doubt.
"You really need to join a queue to discover what different things go on during an event.
"It's well worth waiting all that time."
Zohaib Ali, 21, from Uxbridge, north west London, was first in line outside the Regent Street store after queuing for five days.
"I'm so happy, I'm really tired but it was worth it," he said.
Mr Ali has autism and his mother, Rahat Ali, believes Apple products have helped him live with his disability.
She said: "Apple products are very good for autism. They are very easy to use and he is relaxed when he is using them."
The new iPad also has "voice dictation" which allows people to dictate straight to their computer rather than type.
Apple said the "retina display", which uses 3.1 million pixels on the 9.7in display screen, would have "the highest resolution display ever on a mobile device".
Another feature is a high-speed 4G wireless network which will allow users to download pictures and films quicker than before, but which is not available in the UK yet.
David Phelan, gadgets editor for Time Out, said the latest model is the "biggest upgrade so far".
"The big headline change is the retina display, which is Apple-speak for a screen, is so high resolution that you can't pick out individual pixels.
"It looks great, it looks almost like a printed photograph."
He added that the latest tablet has addressed the "shortcomings" of previous models by upgrading the camera, adding: "It was already very good for high definition video but now it's good for stills as well.
"Although there's a limit to how good a smartphone or a tablet camera can be because you don't have optical zoom and you don't have certain other things, they've added certain features - image stabilisation - so that you can really improve the quality of the footage."
Mr Phelan added: "I think there's always something really special about Apple.
"They have a gift for creating hardware that people want to touch, want to own, and they back that up with software that is very beautifully crafted, and a system that invites outside developers to create stuff to make it more useful.
"Apple creates products that people want, and they even want to be part of events like this morning."
The iPad also went on sale in nine other countries, including the United States, Japan and Australia.