Londoners queued up early today to get their hands on the brand new iPad Air.
First in line at Apple's flagship store on Regent Street remains a man of mystery. He had been in the queue since yesterday and was slumped in a camping stool on Regent Street. "I'm shattered" he told us, and "no, no I don't want to talk." Hopefully next year's front-runner will be a little more excited.
[Read our review of the iPad Air]
Enthusiasm wasn't waning further down the line. "I can't wait" said David Hull from London, who stared queuing at 6 o'clock in the morning. "I didn't get the iPad 4 so the new Air looks great. I've heard it's a lot lighter and faster."
"We have all models of iPad Air in Space Gray and Silver" Apple's store manager told a relieved crowd. Apple store staff then handed out tickets to those in the queue for the iPad Air. These tickets ensure that people who queue get the right iPad. The ticketing system, introduced a few years ago during overwhelming queues for the iPhone, also ensures that all people who queue know they are getting a device.
There were estimated to be around 200 people in the queue when the device went on sale at 8am. This year, like last year, we joined the queue at 7am, and our place in the queue was almost identical to last year's iPad 4 and iPad mini launch.
The iPad went on sale online at midnight the day before and shoppers in the US could order an iPad online and pick one up at a store the next day. Unfortunately this service wasn't available in the UK, but orders were expected to ship within 24 hours according to the Apple Online Store. Supplies of the iPad Air are expected to be healthy, but Apple typically sells out at some point after the launch of any new product.
The iPad Air was still shipping in 24 hours when the store opened at 8am. This compared favourably to the iPhone 5s, which already had considerable delays of 4-6 weeks online by the time the store opened in the UK.
New iPad Air, price and availability
The iPad Air is Apple's latest iPad and is considerably lighter than models before. It also carries the new 64-bit A7 processor that Apple introduced in last month's iPhone 5s release. The new iPad Air does not feature the Touch ID home button fingerprint security system however.
The iPad Air starts at £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and £499 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. More expensive configurations are abalone with storage up to 128GB.
The iPad is considerably more expensive than rival Android tablets, although this didn't seem to stop them from being snapped up today. Apple has also announced new low-cost iPad Mini with Retina Display device. This is due to go on sale later this month amid rumours of short supplies.
Watch our video as we unbox and set up a new iPad Air. Many thanks to Square Group for the loan!
iPad Air UK launch at Covent Garden, Apple Store
When we passed the Covent Garden Apple Store in London at 9am this morning there was still a queue outside. This is in contrast to last year's iPad mini launch when we were able to walk straight in at the same time.
26% of Macworld.co.uk readers say they will buy an iPad Air on launch day!
According to our poll 26% of Macworld readers were planning to buy an iPad Air today! (Well at least 24% of the ones who voted...) Are you planning to buy an iPad Air today? Have you already placed an order online? Have you already got your new iPad Air in your hands. Tell us here or on Twitter - @MacworldUK.