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Meet Zohaib and Ali, the guys at the front of the iPad queue

Zohaib and his friend Ali are at the front of the queue for the new iPad. Find about more about them here.

The guy over on the right is Zohaib Ali, seen here proudly sporting his iPad 2 outside the Apple Store on Regent Street in London, where's he's first in the queue to receive the new iPad -- even though the official launch isn't happening for days yet.

On the left is Ali, Zohaib's friend, second in line.

Zohaib has Asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. He's a huge Apple fan, and enthusiastically described to me why he's looking forward to the next iPad, which features an improved screen resolution and beefed-up processor.

21-year-old Zohaib is no stranger to this particular Apple shop. I was told he comes here several times a week, to take part in the one-to-one classes and workshops that Apple runs out of the store.

I had the pleasure of chatting to Zohaib's parents, who told me that attending those tutorials and learning about tech was proving fantastic for his development, and that the Store's staff are very nice. Zohaib is good at using computers, and having finished school, I'm told these tutorials run by Apple are his education now.

Chatting with Zohaib, his fondness for Apple gadgetry is obvious, and his dream is to one day get a job working for the Cupertino company. His father told me of his hopes that one day Zohaib could help sell computers to those with learning difficulties.

Zohaib and Ali queueing

Ali (left) and Zohaib (right) in situ at the new iPad queue.

Zohaib and Ali became friends several months ago, when they met -- curiously enough -- in another queue, waiting for the midnight launch of kickabout-sim FIFA 12. Now Ali, along with his parents and a team of other dedicated friends, are looking out for Zohaib this week as he waits for Friday's launch.

Ali, 18, told me he's looking forward to the new iPad's processor, as he likes gaming on his tablet and is still using an original iPad.

I was struck by Mr and Mrs Ali's description of the very real benefits Zohaib had enjoyed using and learning about tech. With Apple's latest tablet on sale in just a few days, and both pro- and anti-iPad sentiment destined to reach fever pitch, here's a reminder of how much technology has to offer.