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Apple fans count down for iPhone 6

Thousands of Apple fans are entering the last hours o f holding vigil outside the company's stores as they enter the final countdown until the new incarnation of the iPhone is released.

Technology fans up and down the country have been camping out as they eagerly await tomorrow's launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The US company announced the new devices to much fanfare at a highly-anticipated event in California last week, and customers will be able to buy them from Apple stores from 8am.

Some fans were so keen to get their hands on the new iPhones they began camping outside the Apple store in Regent Street, London on Monday.

Around 30 or so people set up camp outside the Apple store in London's Covent Garden today, with tents, tables and chairs and even bottles of wine bearing testimony to their dedication.

Among them was Lasse Maroen, who caught a three-hour flight from his home in Bergen, Norway with friends from work to get the iPhone 6.

He said: "I have been here since this morning. We came here last year to get the iPhone 5s. We had such a good time so we decided to go back this year."

Asked if he was a "technology geek", he said: "I have been known to buy the new iPhones on the day they come out since the first one in 2007, so pretty much."

Mr Maroen said he planned to buy the handset outright. The iPhone 6 is expected to start at £539, and the 6 Plus at £619.

He said: "I read a lot of iPhone blogs and news sites, and because I watched the keynote presentation a few weeks ago, and there had been rumours about the launch being this day, so we had planned on going here for quite some time."

Mr Maroen praised the way Apple co-founder and chairman Steve Jobs had changed the face of the company.

He said: "I think there are many geniuses (at Apple), but you can't come away from the fact that Steve Jobs transformed Apple from almost bankrupt in 1997 to being the biggest company in the world."

On Monday Apple announced a record number of first day pre-orders of the two handsets, with over four million in the first 24 hours.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available in the 10 countries from tomorrow, including the UK, the US, Australia and Singapore, and a further 20 next Friday.

Both handsets will be available in new sizes for the first time, with the iPhone 6 offering a 4.7-inch screen, while the 6 Plus boasts the biggest screen Apple has ever produced for a smartphone at 5.5 inches.

Network operator EE has also said it will ensure that customers who had pre-ordered new handsets through Phones 4u, which went into administration on Sunday, would still be able to get them in its stores.

A spokesman said: "All across the country we have set aside iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets, enough for Phones 4u customers who pre-ordered iPhones on EE through Phones 4u.

"If they go into EE stores and show their pre-order receipts they will be able to claim one of the devices."

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