The iPhone 5S and 5C are nearly upon us -- and so are the fervent Apple fans who've lined up outside, in a bid to be the first to get their mitts on the colourful pair of new smart phones.
Central London plays host to two major Apple stores -- one on Regent Street and the grand flagship shop in Covent Garden.
Covent Garden sees Norman Hicks in pole position. A resident of Orpington, Kent, Hicks told me that he wants to use the publicity to call attention to the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club, a motor-enthusiast brigade of which he is a member, and that offers help and advice to Jaguar owners.
Hicks has his eye on the gold-coloured 64GB iPhone 5S, but says he's going to auction it for charity. He fancies picking one up for himself, but he'll come back for that another time. "I'm not in a rush for it," he confides.
Hicks has days left to wait, but says he's been well looked after by the blue-shirted employees working within the shop. "They said if you want anything tell us, if you want your phone charged -- I've been using their Wi-Fi.
"They came this morning with some breakfast for me, they're heating my water up from my flask."
Hicks enthuses about Apple's employees, who he says are more interested in customer satisfaction than flogging iPhones. "It may be a bit dearer," he comments, "but then maybe the support and the friendliness outweighs the cost of buying a cheaper one."
Meanwhile at Regent Street Apple store 17-year-old student Noah Green is first in line, beneath a large tent structure that keeps the rain off.
He's also excited for the iPhone 5S, especially the fingerprint scanner. "Security now is so much better," he says of the updated mobile.
Noah arrived at 5pm on Monday, and is queuing with his friend Michael (who recognises me from last year's event), but is part of a die-hard gang that rallies around Apple launches. "We've formed a group of about 10 of us," Noah says. "We have a WhatsApp group."
Queuing through the week is no easy -- or necessarily safe -- task. "It's not such great conditions," Noah says, describing a situation on his first night, out by himself, when he had to call the police because two drunk people by the Apple store were smashing bottles and swearing. "I survived that night, so I'm still here. So it's all good," Noah says, breezily.
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