16/03/2012 04:27 GMT | Updated 15/05/2012 06:12 BST

New iPad Launches, Huge Queues Outside Apple Stores - PHOTOS

There were whoops, applause and wafts of the unwashed as the Apple store on London's Regent Street welcomed patient customers who had queued overnight for the new iPad on Friday morning.

Canny shoppers, however, could have saved themselves a night on the tarmac by heading to London's tech mega strip, Tottenham Court Road, where no queuing was required. In-the-know consumers waltzed through the doors of Currys and PC World, picked up their new tablets, and were at their desks in time for breakfast.

Back at Apple's flagship store, the doors were flung open at 8am precisely, and the brave few who had camped out longest were welcomed into the gadget emporium by clapping hordes of staff in blue uniforms.

Many had queued for days for the honour of being among the first in London to own the new iPad.

Yuri Ivanov from Moscow, had queued with two friends since 10am the previous day. He told The Huffington Post: "Why not queue? This will be my first iPad, and this will be where I start with Apple products. It's the latest thing."

For those who hadn't arrived in time, there were places available in the queue, but for a price. Exactly what the price might be wasn't 100% clear, although a jovial offer of £50 from this reporter was not accepted.

Scott Ridges joined the queue at 7:50am. He said: "I always queue for iPads. I will have all three after today. Why queue? Because it's something I like to do." He was not swayed by the idea that he could waltz into another, non-Apple tech store and buy one without hassle.

To the Regent Street commuter, and those seeking to join in, the queue appeared deceptively small with just a handful of people allowed to camp directly outside the doors. Look a little closer and a massive queue actually snaked around the corner into Hanover Street, past Vogue House and filling Hanover Square, which was coralled with neatly organised crowd fencing.

The queue came as a shock to some office workers, including those who work in the building housing Apple HQ.

"No-one told us about this. We had no idea this was going to happen today," one complained. She must have missed the blanket media coverage of the new tablet, and global stories of huge queues for every other Apple product released.

In stark contrast to the dedication of the Apple fans on Regent Street, Tottenham Court Road shoppers were walking straight into Currys and PC World to buy any one of the models available.

One shopper told us he was there at 7:55am, walked straight in, bought his iPad and was off to work by 8:10am.

For some though, it's not just about buying a new gadget from a shop. It's about the whooping, cheering, street-sleeping experience of being a true Apple fan.