TECHNOLOGY fanatics crammed into Southampton 's WestQuay shopping centre this morning to get their hands on Apple's new iPhone 5 which was released today.

More than 500 gadget lovers were snaked around the shopping centre in long queues desperate to catch a glimpse of the new product.

The first iPhone owners joined the massive queue as early as 4pm yesterday for this morning's much-anticipated 8am launch so some were waiting 16 hours.

Then at 8am the shop shutters were opened and dozens of Apple staff ran around the centre cheering at the crowds to signify the start of business .

First in line Craig Powell, 27, a deputy manager of a care home, from Bognor Regis, said: “I've got everything Apple- iPads, the iPhones and I had to have the latest product. I feel absolutely dead now but it is worth it. I missed out on the iPad 3 because they sold out but I wasn't going to miss out on this.”

Peter Roberts, 25, a stay at home dad, from Locks Heath, was the first one out of the store with the iPhone 5 where he was cheered by the staff and crowds.

Peter, also slept overnight to ensure he was among the first people in the shop. He said: “Finally after 9 hours of waiting. It feels amazing I am going straight to bed when I get home- okay maybe I will make sure the iPhone5 is all charged up first.”

Store manager of Apple in Southampton Dave Lewis said it was the biggest launch in the city yet.

He said: “I have never had so many people turn up for a product launch- it is incredible. There must be over 500 people queuing, the queue is wrapped around on itself now and people are still arriving. We have been going around giving cookies and water, the atmosphere is great. People are really looking forward to seeing the new phone.”

Announced last week the iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor the iPhone 4S and it is powered by a processor which is twice as fast.

Apple has also improved the camera software for the iPhone 5 and has added 4G mobile broadband for the first time.

Earlier this week Apple announced that it had taken two million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours after pre-ordering opened.