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Queue grows ahead of iPhone launch
Queues gather outside the Apple store in Regent Street, London, ahead of the release of the iPhone 5
A queue is growing outside the Apple store in central London as eager fans set up camp in their pursuit of being the first to own the iPhone 5.
The latest iPhone goes on sale at 8am on Friday and 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 adding that demand was so great many customers would not get them until October.
The phone, which is thinner and lighter than previous models and can use the newly announced 4G network, will cost from £529, with the 32GB model selling for £599 and the 64GB version costing £699.
The launch of new Apple products traditionally draw impressive queues at the brand's stores, with first-time campers joining veterans who are willing to sleep rough to be one of the first to own the latest piece of technology.
People keen to own the new phone are looking forward to the 4in screen, which is half an inch bigger than previous models, and the new, more powerful A6 chip.
Its voice control software Siri, first unveiled in the iPhone 4S, has been updated so users can ask it to recommend films and restaurants and update their Facebook accounts verbally.
Eamon Yates, 26, and his friend Ben Paton, 25, both employed in the IT industry, and third and fourth in the queue, had been sitting in the Covent Garden Piazza for 29 hours by Thursday afternoon and had booked time off work to do so. Mr PAton said: "We both work for the same company and we've both taken three days off for this and I think that's one of the things that a lot of people don't realise. They think you must be on benefits or a bum, but no, no, I've taken time off, I've made the effort, I want to do this, this is what I want to do with my time."
Keen Apple fans will be looking forward to using the 4G network - which offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G - and allows 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.