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.

 

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

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