It's that time of year again, when middle class folk take to the streets to spend a night under the stars – not in the name of charity but in the name of Apple.
Well, Apple and a healthy dose of enterprising spirit.
The queue for the iPad 2 at Apple's flagship Regent Street store was about 150-people strong when TechRadar visited first thing this morning.
Nice day for it
Basking in the sunshine, the VIP area outside the Apple Store, which houses the first 20 queuers, had a nice community feel after a cold night's queuing.
"I got here about midday yesterday," second-in-line Louis told us. "You hear about the short supplies and I don't have an iPad 1 so I didn't want to take any chances. Better to get it now than later because I don't want to wait."
Third-in-line Ben is planning to buy two – one for himself and one for his mum on Mother's Day.
Ben was the first person in the iPhone 4 queue - but all these guys are seasoned Apple queuers and well aware of the media hot-property that they become for the day.
"We've had some companies down already – Griffin have brought some cases and Jewel [the first person in the queue] got a bed from one company. We're hoping to get some more stuff – we're low on energy so a few energy drinks would be good," said Louis.
In fact, they've taken to Twitter to approach companies like Monster and PowerMat, pointing out all the press they've been getting.
Here come the girls
Elsewhere in the queue, we spotted about ten ladies waiting for the sultry tablet. The first was Fenella, who's been queuing since 5pm yesterday evening but doesn't even want an iPad 2.
She's there to keep iPad-fan Harry company but is thinking of selling her space to the highest bidder – she's probably about 25th in the queue, in case you're interested.
Sandra, a German student studying in London, is after an iPad 2 though – she's planning to get the top end model in white. She and her student friends are also looking to pick up spares to put on eBay later tonight.
Back to the front
But one person not looking to get anything out of today's launch other than an iPad 2 is Jewels. He's the lucky first customer who turned up to queue 7.30am yesterday morning.
He's after the top end model in white – "So people know I've got the new one" – while his kids, who are 10 and 12 years old, will get the old iPad 1 to play with.
"I'm not into all that virtual communication, it's all about face to face," he told us. "I'm not on Twitter, Facebook, none of that. FaceTime? Nah. The human touch, that's what I like."
What is it about iPads that makes Jewels want to queue for days to get his hands on one then? "It's the intervention between the laptop and the computer. That's why I like it," he told us, sporting a Team Apple t-shirt.
Last year's first iPad buyer, Jake, turned up while TechRadar was on the scene.
"It was my eighteenth on Tuesday so I've been too busy this week to queue," he explained after offering Jewels, who he knows from the first queue, his hearty congratulations. "I'm going to join the back of the queue now though."
We'll be back at Regent Street for the first sales at 5pm this afternoon - perhaps later the madness will match that of the original iPad, but for now at least Regent Street feels fairly calm.
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