As predicted crowds eager to get hold of Apple's iPhone 4S started to gather early for store openings this morning. Macworld editor Karen Haslam and iPad & iPhone User editor David Price were on the spot at the Apple Store in London's Regent Street and Covent Garden stores for the 8 am openings.

Apple Regent St

At Regent Street, a throng of people had already been queuing for some time at the front of the store. Apple has to respect its neighbours in London's prime shopping area, so the bulk of the queue snaked down nearby Hanover Street and Hanover Square as people started to gather in greater numbers. 

Craig Fox and Daniel James, the organisers of the MyGreatFest jailbreaking festival were first to get their hands on the iPhone 4S in Regent Street. The duo had been camping out at the Apple Store since 4pm last Friday.

 Craig Fox and Daniel James -front of the queue pays off

For others, the queue moved slowly, but the early risers were rewarded by Apple staff who moved down the line taking orders from people and handing them white tickets bearing the code for the iPhone model that they were after.

Hanover Street iPhone Q

At Covent Garden at least 700 people were queuing from early this morning.

The main queue at the Apple Store in Cov Garden. Apple employees were estimating it at about 700 people in total

Apple staff came out to congratulate some of the earliest through the doors.

Apple staff congratulating some of the earliest through the doors at Covent Garden

Rob Shoesmith, who was at the very front of the queue, was first to get hold of the new iPhone 4S. Shoesmith, who had queued for ten nights at the Covent Garden store in anticipation of getting the device, said he had owned every iPhone model apart from the first generation.

Rob Shoesmith, who was at the very front of the queue, holding up his new iPhone 4S.

We'll be uploading some video of the this launch event very soon. Keep checking back