Apple (NAS: AAPL) said it sold more than 4 million units of its new iPhone 4S over the weekend, breaking previous iPhone sales records. In a statement, Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said the sales were more than double the opening weekend sales of the iPhone 4 last year, when Apple sold 1.7 million units.
The iPhone 4S, which went on sale Friday, is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan and will be in 22 more countries Oct. 28 and in 70 by year-end.
U.S. carriers that started selling the device at 8 a.m. local time Friday. AT&T (NYS: T) Mobility, Sprint Nextel (NYS: S) and Verizon (NYS: VZ) Wireless reported record retail days. Sprint became the third U.S. carrier to start selling the iPhone; Verizon began selling the iPhone 4 in February.
"Sprint today reported its best ever day of sales in retail, Web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4," Fared Adib, Sprint's vice president of product development, said in a statement Friday afternoon. "We reached this milestone at approximately noon CT/1 p.m. ET. The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed our expectations and validates our customers' desire for a truly unlimited data pricing plan."
AT&T also sounded off late Friday. "As of 4:30 pm ET today, AT&T had already activated a record number of iPhones on our network -- and is on-track to double our previous record for activations on a single day," AT&T said in a statement. AT&T had said that it received 200,000 iPhone 4S pre-orders after pre-orders began Oct. 7. Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney said the carrier had "brisk sales through the weekend."
Apple also noted that 25 million users have so far downloaded iOS 5, Apple's new software update, though some users reported delays in receiving email and other glitches after downloading the software. Additionally, Apple said 20 million customers have signed up for its iCloud service.
The iPhone 4S launch comes as Google's (NAS: GOOG) Android platform continues to dominate worldwide smartphone market share. Samsung, which relies heavily on Android, as well as Microsoft's (NAS: MSFT) Windows Phone and its homegrown bada platform, is poised to overtake Apple in the third quarter as the world's largest smartphone maker, according to analyst projections. Indeed, Samsung today reported shipping a total of 30 million of its Galaxy S and Galaxy S II phones worldwide.
In the U.S., the iPhone 4S is retailing for $199.99 for the 16GB model, $299.99 for the 32GB model and $399.99 for the 64GB model, with a two-year contract. All three U.S. carriers are also selling an 8 GB iPhone 4 for $99 with a two-year contract. The iPhone 4S sports a dual-core Apple A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera with advanced optics and full 1080p HD resolution video recording, and Apple's new Siri voice-recognition software. The technology enables iOS device users to employ natural spoken language to access and perform device tasks like mobile search and messaging. The iPhone 4S supports both GSM and CDMA networks. However, according to Apple, only iPhones for Verizon and Sprint will have the CDMA capabilities activated.
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