Last tribute to Steve Jobs by iPhone fans who queued for days to get new 4S model
TECHNOLOGY enthusiasts paid their "last tribute" to the late Steve Jobs as they queued - some for days - to get the new iPhone.
Crowds of people flocked to Apple stores around the country to get the must-have smartphone in the wake of the Apple founder's death last week after battling pancreatic cancer.
Hundreds of technophiles were cheered and clapped into Apple's London Covent Garden store as the doors were flung open at 8am.
Maria Yasianetskaya, 26, who lives in London, said: "I think it's touching and is specially connected to this occasion, it's like the last tribute we can pay (to Steve Jobs)."
The launch of the iPhone 4S came during a torrid week for rival BlackBerry, which sparked widespread anger following a technical failure which left millions of its customers unable to access email or internet services for more than three days.
Duncan Hoare, 42, from Hampstead, was first in the queue and had been camping out since Tuesday afternoon.
Mr Hoare said Mr Jobs' death was "tragic", adding: "He will be a huge loss to the world.
"I would have come anyway and I would have bought the phone anyway but I think there's a lot of thoughts here for him."
Matthew Michael Kelly, 19, from South Wales, had been queuing since Thursday.
He said: "BlackBerry epically failed.
"You could not send messages, you could not connect to the internet, you couldn't get emails or anything."
The iPhone 4S, described by its makers as "the best iPhone ever", has already proved itself to be more popular before its release than any other Apple product, with pre-orders topping one million in a single day.
Muhammed Asif, from Pakistan but living in London, queued for 11 hours, and said he was "really happy" to leave the store with the new phone in his hand.
The 30-year old said: "I've been here really long, I haven't eaten anything, I'm hungry and thirsty so I'm going to eat something and celebrate my new iPhone with my friends."
When asked if the day took on extra significance after Jobs's death, Mr Asif said; "Of course, no doubt.
"This is his invention, people can't forget him - they must keep remembering him."
New features include an advanced camera; Siri, a so-called intelligent assistant that "helps you get things done just by asking"; and iCloud, a service which synchronises content across multiple devices.
Mr Kelly said: "Siri looks like a lot of fun and it will be nice to have a decent camera."
Mr Hoare and Mr Asif also said Siri was one of the features they were most looking forward to.
Luke Peters, editor of technology magazine T3, pointed out that Apple has had problems upgrading existing iPhone 4 users to the new IOS5 operating system this week.
"It's a bit unfortunate what's happened with BlackBerry but it seems like Apple haven't been without their problems with the upgrading from the previous IOS.
"It's an interesting time for technology at the moment but today proves people are interested in tech and they're willing to come out to get their hands on the latest kit."
Every customer who buys the phone at one of the UK's 33 Apple shops today will be offered a free set-up service to help them customise their phone and get going on email.