After months of speculation, the Apple iPhone 4S - read T3's Apple iPhone 4S review - finally went on sale today at 8am, as a record number turned up outside Apple's flagship Regent Street store in London to be among the first to get their hands on the device.
Apple devotees queued for hours - some for days - with hopes of being among the first owners of the much mooted handset. Earlier today, tweeters reported spotting fans queuing up outside phone shops in Lewisham, London, and Chichester, in West Sussex, since 4am this morning.
A record 778 people turned up outside Apple’s flagship store in Regent Street, beating the previous record of 668 for the Apple iPhone 4, according to gadget insurance website Protectyourbubble.com. The retailer opened its doors to the public at 7.57am today.
However the report, which surveyed the first 100 people queuing up outside Apple's Regent Street store, also found an astonishing 57% were disappointed that the iPhone 5 wasn't released.
A further 56% said they'd consider switching to Android, however, BlackBerry came out as the most popular iPhone alternative, despite BlackBerry networks suffering from mass disruptions earlier this week.
The first person to buy the iPhone 4S in Apple’s Covent Garden store was a man known only as Jonas, who flew over specially from Denmark to be at the front of the queue. He said: “I am so happy, I can't wait to get home to bed - but not before playing with iPhone first.”
The Bluewater shopping centre in Kent also saw massive queues forming outside its Apple store and various mobile phone shops including O2, Orange and T-Mobile, such was demand for the latest gadget.
The new Apple iPhone 4S is expected to be the most popular iPhone yet, with over a million pre-orders being placed within a day of it going on sale. It boasts the same shell as its predecessor, the Apple iPhone 4, as well as an improved 8-megapixel camera and voice-recognition software called Siri.
The Apple iPhone 4S SIM-free price and tariff deals were announced by Apple and the UK's largest network providers - O2, T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone and Three - just days after the handset was officially unveiled by the Californian company on October 4th.
Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing at Apple, said: "We've been blown away with the incredible customer response,"
The iPhone 4S will also be available to buy from Australia, Japan, France, Germany, the US and Canada as of 8am today local time.