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It's been a long, fidgety wait, but at last the Apple iPad 2 is finally out on sale in the UK. Crave sauntered down to the flagship Apple Store in Regent Street to check out the ensuing queuing mania, and take a few snaps. Click through the photos above to check 'em out.

We were astonished to note that a poll conducted by gadget insurers ProtectYourBubble showed that 28 per cent of men in the queue had a beard -- a shocking increase on last years launch, at which only 16 per cent of punters were wearing face-fluff. Is Apple becoming a more tempted brand to the bearded gentleman? We welcome your theories in the comments.

We were certainly impressed with the iPad 2, awarding it a healthy four out of five stars in our in-depth review.

But our coverage of Apple's slender slate doesn't stop there, oh my goodness no. We're fully loaded and ready to discharge several thousands rounds of iPad 2 knowledge in your direction, so head on over to our iPad 2 complete guide, which collects all our videos, photo galleries and round-ups in place.

The iPad 2 comes in several different versions, with varying storage capacities and in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus 3G options, so you'll want to read our which iPad 2 should you buy? story. It's also worth considering the first iPad, which is significantly cheaper now it's standing in the shadow of its slimmer, speedier cousin.

Speedier is right -- the iPad 2 performed brilliantly in our graphics benchmark test, and compares favourably sizewise when measured against its Android competitor, the Motorola Xoom. (Though the iPad still can't play Flash videos -- what's up with that?)

Make sure you read our Smart Cover review, compare data contract deals and generally revel in a day of celebration for gadget fans. 

Update: While you're here, why not watch our new video comparing the fans queueing for the Nintendo 3DS and the iPad 2.

 

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Nice day for it!
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Those in the queue pass the time any way they can.
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Ah, Regent Street.
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Fans crowd under the Apple banner. Well, fans and annoyed civilians trying to get home.
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As the time of reckoning nears, Apple employees begin their usual sinister cheering.
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The doors finally open...
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...and Jewels Lewis, the first man in the queue, is triumphantly led in.
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The first chap out the other end brandishes his new iPad 2.
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Meet happy iPad 2 owner Louis Frankland.
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And Jewels is out. Good job all, same time next year, yes?
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Apple iPad 2 (photos)