iPad 2 queues around the worldMarch 24, 2011: 10:30 AM ET
Customers began lining up in Australia two days before the scheduled launch
Alex Lee, 28, and Marius Eilertsen, 27, armed with folding chairs and blankets, took their places -- Nos. 1 and 2 -- in front of Apple's (AAPL) Sydney, Australia, retail store Wednesday at noon local time, 53 hours before the iPad 2 was scheduled to go on sale. By Thursday evening, the line of customers behind them extended down George Street and around the corner to King, according to ITWire.
Half a world away at Apple's Regent Street store in London, a 32-year-old personal banker named Jewels Lewis staked out his spot Thursday morning at 7:30 GMT, with only 33.5 hours to spare.
"I was fourth in the queue for the first iPad," he told the London Evening Standard, "It was such an amazing atmosphere, I really wanted to be first this time."
Australia and the U.K. are two of the 25 countries scheduled to begin selling iPad 2's Friday at 5 p.m. local time. Japan was also supposed to get the device, but an earthquake, tsunami and a couple partial nuclear meltdowns got in the way.
Also on Fortune.com:
- Videos: iPad 2 mania Down Under
- Videos: iPad 2 lines in Europe, Canada
- Video: Walking the longest iPad 2 line
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]