Apple fans snap up new iPhones

An Apple whirlwind has blown around the world as technology enthusiasts scrambled to snap up the new iPhone 5.

Fans of the brand flocked to shops to get their hands on its newest bit of kit as it went on sale across the globe, with mobile carriers reporting record levels of demand.

But the launch was not without its hiccups as fights broke out in queues, phones were stolen, former and current Apple employees protested, and users complained about the new iPhone's maps feature.

In London, almost 1,300 customers queued outside Apple's flagship store in Regent Street, while some had camped at the company's shop in Covent Garden for up to a week to be at the front of the queue. Store workers dressed in blue T-shirts formed a passageway and high-fived customers as they ushered them in.

IT businessman Ryan Williams was the first person to purchase the smartphone at the Covent Garden store in central London at 8am on Friday morning - but auctioned it off to raise £1,000 for charity.

The 22-year-old, from Swanley, Kent, said: "It was a crazy thing to queue here for a week but it was really good fun, I would definitely do it again, we've raised so much money for Cancer Research UK as well which is absolutely fantastic."

The new phone, which is thinner and lighter than previous models and can use the newly-announced 4G network, costs from £529, with the 32GB model selling for £599 and the 64GB version costing £699.

It is already guaranteed to be a best-seller, with Apple saying pre-orders around the world went up to two million in just 24 hours and many customers are not expected to receive theirs until October.

The new 4G network offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G and allows uninterrupted access to the web on the go, high-definition films to be downloaded in minutes and TV to be streamed without buffering.

Buyers praised the new phone for its simple user interface and it was described by one satisfied customer as "really quick, snappy and fluid", but there were also complaints about the phone's maps, with reports of geographical errors and missing information.