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Apple fans in London – some who have spent days sleeping in the street – have got their hands on the third iPad today.

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Zohaib Ali, 21, from Uxbridge, north-west London, was first in line outside the flagship Apple store in Regent Street after queuing for five days.

“The iPad is the best product of the year and there won’t be any more until 2013 so I am happy to queue. I love Apple products,” he said.

Mr Ali has autism and his mother, Rahat Ali, believes Apple products have helped him overcome his disability.

She said: “Apple products are very good for autism. They are very easy to use and he is relaxed when he is using them. Usually he doesn’t want to go out in a crowd but he is very happy queuing here.”

The tablet computer, which has a higher resolution screen than previous models and a five megapixel camera with auto focus and auto exposure, ranges in price from £399 to £659.

Despite competition from cheaper rivals the iPad remains the most popular tablet computer. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since its launch in 2010, including 40 million last year.

Mr Ali’s friend, Ali Tarighi, 18, from Acton, west London, has been queuing with him since Saturday morning. He said of the new iPad: “I wanted to be one of the first to get my hands on it really.”

He added: “It can be hard at times, especially at nights. It gets really cold but it’s going to feel great when I hold the iPad up in triumph.”

Those waiting were handed free food and drink by companies they had contacted through Twitter.

Harry Barrington-Mountford, 22, from Upminster, north-east London, queued to buy the iPad 2 with his girlfriend Fenella Barnes, 30, and decided to queue again for the newest model.

“We had such a great time queuing last time that we decided to do it again,” he said.

“People always stop to talk to us. I am exhausted though, I have only had about 45 minutes of sleep.”

Miss Barnes is not intending to buy an iPad for herself but is queuing up to buy one for a friend. She said: “I have been tempted to get one but I haven’t been tempted enough. If I had a spare £500 then maybe I would consider it!”

Noah Green, a 16-year-old student from Stanmore, north-west London, had been fourth in the queue but was paid £300 to move back in the line. He said: “It is worth it. I am still 18th in the queue so I will be one of the first to buy an iPad. I am going to sell it though and earn some money.”

The new iPad also has “voice dictation” which allows people to dictate straight to their computer rather than type.

Apple said the “retina display” which uses 3.1 million pixels on the 9.7in display screen, would have “the highest resolution display ever on a mobile device”.

Another feature is a high-speed 4G wireless network which will allow users to download pictures and films quicker than before, but which is not available in the UK yet.

The computer is widely expected to sell out, but Nate Lanxon, editor of technology site Wired.co.uk, said some savvy shoppers would not spend their money yet.

He said: “On day one there is less reason to invest in one than three or four months down the line when the developers have got to grips with it and you can see what apps they have built for it.”

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