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Apple fans snap up first iPhones

Apple mania reached fever pitch as lucky customers became the first to get their hands on the new iPhone.

The latest Apple gadget became available from 8am, as hundreds were cheered into the company's store in Covent Garden, central London.

Apple store workers dressed in blue T-shirts formed a passageway and high-fived customers who had been waiting outside the shop for up to a week.

The phone is already guaranteed to be a best-seller, with the company reporting pre-orders around the world of two million in just 24 hours and many customers not expected to receive theirs until October.

IT businessman Ryan Williams was the first person in the queue and said the atmosphere as he picked up the phone was "crazy".

Williams, 22, from Swanley in Kent, had been camping out in Covent Garden for a week with his friend Peter King.

But the pair were not doing it just for their love of tech - Mr Williams auctioned off the first iPhone to hit the UK's streets to raise 1,000 for charity.

He said: "I didn't expect that kind of entrance to be honest with you, I thought I was just queueing for a phone but it was absolutely mad.

"It was a crazy thing to queue here for a week but it was really good fun, I would definitely do it again, we've raised so much money for Cancer Research UK as well which is absolutely fantastic.

"I was just trying to utilise the fact that there's so much publicity around iPhone queueing, so if we could build on that and raise money for charity at the same time, we were doing it for a good cause."

The new phone, which is thinner and lighter than previous models and can use the newly-announced 4G network, costs from 529, with the 32GB model selling for 599 and the 64GB version costing 699.

Henry Moulton, 18, was fifth in line and the third to get his hands on the new product's Sim-free version.

Mr Moulton, who is just about to start university studies in IT and business, said the atmosphere at the store was "electric".

"Everyone is ecstatic about the new iPhone, everyone is excited and the Apple employees are clapping, whooping, cheering," he said after waiting in the queue since Wednesday afternoon.

Asked about Apple's appeal, Mr Moulton, from Wimbledon, south London, said it was all down to "really great products".

He said: "I think it's the way Apple can balance ease of use with top notch features, they know not to go for feature overkill and add things which people may not use.

"They keep it really easy to use with a simple interface, really quick, snappy and fluid and you can just navigate around it really quickly."

Apple fans are now looking forward to using the new 4G network - which offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G.

With 4G, users get uninterrupted access to the web on the go, high-definition films to be downloaded in minutes and TV to be streamed without buffering.

The battle for domination of the mobile and tablet market has become increasingly heated recently with Apple's competitors taking it on with a series of new products.

Nokia and Microsoft recently joined forces to launch two new phones which will run on the Windows operating system.

And online retailer Amazon unveiled new models of its Kindle Fire tablets, which were previously not for sale in the UK, and are seen as rivals to Apple's best-selling iPad.

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