The iPhone 5 goes on sale today, and being sticklers for tradition, Apple fans have emerged in droves to congregate, queue and eventually purchase the anticipated new mobile.

Click through our photos above to ogle the mystic spectacle for yourself, and be introduced to the chaps at both the very front and very back of the hundreds-strong queue.

First into the Apple Store in London's Covent Garden was Ryan Williams. When I spoke to Ryan he had just emerged triumphant, clutching two iPhone 5s, still in their plastic wrap.

"We've been queueing here for about a week -- a week exactly, to raise money for Cancer Research UK," said Ryan. He and his queue buddies auctioned an iPhone 5 on eBay just before the phone went on sale, for just over £1,000.

"We were going to pay for it using our own money," Ryan explained, but a company stepped in to sponsor the purchase. "We've got a JustGiving page and we've sold one of our seats [in the queue] as well, so we've raised about £2,500."

When I asked why they wanted to queue for charity, Ryan explained, "I've got a friend who's just been diagnosed with bowel cancer, so I'm doing it for him, I wanted to do a nice thing for him, to show that I'm supporting him."

Ryan told me his queue partner Peter King, who sold his space, lost his mum to cancer when he was 16. "Cancer's kind of close to our heart," Ryan said, "so it was an obvious choice doing something for charity.

"There's so much media attention surrounding Apple queues, so we thought if we can do it for a good cause there's obviously going to be some media attention and interest surrounding it."

At the other end of the winding queue, I spoke to Martin who was -- when I spoke to him at about 7:45am -- at the very back of the line, which stretched out of Covent Garden and down several more London streets.

Believe it or not, Martin told me he thought the queue would be worse. He's never owned an iPhone, but has decided to make the switch now. I asked him about the iOS 6 Maps fiasco, and he told me, "It's not as good as Google Maps that's for sure."

Meanwhile, the queue outside the O2 shop around the corner wasn't quite so dramatic, with just three people waiting to nab an iPhone 5. Carphone Warehouse and Orange shops nearby were also perfectly calm.

I've witnessed my share of Apple queues, and I would say this is a larger gathering than I've seen in London before -- clearly the passion Apple instills in its devotees isn't dwindling.

Will you buy the iPhone 5 or do you prefer Android? Or perhaps Windows Phone? Have you been put off by the revelation that Apple Maps is rubbish? Tell me in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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Here's the start of the queue, at Apple's Covent Garden shop.
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This happy chappy is keen to get his mitts on an iPhone 5.
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Roughly a third of the way through the queue. Those in line are held within metal barriers.
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Several streets over we meet Martin, at the very end of the still-lengthening line. He's not too impressed with iOS 6 Maps.
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8am, and the doors open to the thunderous whooping of Apple geniuses (genii?).
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First out the door is Ryan Williams.
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Ryan's auctioned an iPhone 5 to raise money for Cancer Research.
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Another satisfied customer leaves the shop.
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Meanwhile, here's the queue outside the O2 shop down the road.
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