Pictures and interviews from the queues at Covent Garden, London, for the launch of the Apple iPhone 5.

iPad & iPhone User was up at the crack of dawn today for the launch of the Apple iPhone 5, but our 6.45 wake-up call pales into insignificance compared to the long vigils many of the hardy Apple fans near the front of the queue had put in.

Apple iPhone 5 launch Covent Garden London

Henry Molton - by our count number 3 in the queue - had been there since 4pm on Wednesday. Yeah, pre-iOS 6. He hadn't even heard of it! Okay, that's not true, but he hadn't got round to updating. We had a quick chat:

Have you ever queued up for an Apple product before?

No, this is my first time, with my friend Harry.

Have you owned iPhones before?

Yeah, I'm currently on a 3GS, but it's one of the reasons I'm here: the backlight's broken, so I need a new phone.

What feature are you most excited about?

I think… bigger screen yet still being lighter… faster…

…and not being broken.

And not being broken.

Do you think that Samsung copied Apple?

I went into a Vodafone store and saw a Samsung Galaxy S, and it has so many of the quirks that the iPhone 4 has. I think there's something a bit dodgy going on there.

And have you manage to download iOS 6 yet?

No I haven't yet. But apparently it's very good - I've been hearing from the guys around here.

Thank you very much.

iPhone 5 launch - front of queue

Apple iPhone 5 review

It can be hard to compare queue sizes from year to year because Apple changes the way it arranges the queue - this time (if you know Covent Garden at all) it headed off towards the Royal Opera House and bent round towards the Transport Museum - but it seemed to this reporter than there were more people this morning than at the iPad 3 launch earlier this year and for the iPhone 4S launch last autumn.

iPhone 5 launch queue - Covent Garden London

iPhone 5 launch queue - Covent Garden London

Number 6 in the queue was Christina.

How long have you been waiting?

Since 6am yesterday morning.

Blimey. Are you very excited about the new iPhone?

Quite excited, yes.

What's the feature you're most looking forward to?

I think... Siri. I think talking to Siri.

Have you managed to download iOS 6 yet?

Um, no. Not yet.

Have you owned iPhones before?

Not an iPhone. I have an iPad, but not an iPhone, so that's why I'm excited!

Really, it's your first one? Fantastic! Okay, last question, do you think Samsung copied Apple?

 No, I don't think so. I think Apple are taking it way too seriously. I think a lot of smartphones look alike, and it's quite difficult to get away from that.

iPhone 5 launch - front of queue

The lucky chap at the very front of the queue was a 22-year-old from Kent named Ryan Williams, who was camping out to raise money for Cancer Research UK. We got a look at the 'golden ticket' Ryan was proudly wielding shortly before making his big entrance...

First iPhone 5 at Covent Garden London

The blue T-shirts inside the store were getting more and more worked up by this stage. Here's a video clip of the final countdown to iPhone 5:

And here he comes, with the first iPhone 5 (and second iPhone 5, by the looks of it) to be bought at Covent Garden, London.

First iPhone 5 at Covent Garden London