Monday morning Apple said that it sold more than four million new iPhone 4S smartphones in the first three days it was available for sale. How the heck did it manage to do this? Greater distribution, that's how.
On launch day, Friday, the iPhone 4S was available from not one carrier in the United States, but three. AT&T had a lock on iPhone exclusivity in the United States for all the iPhones released between 2007 and 2010. Earlier this year, Verizon began selling the iPhone 4. When the iPhone 4S went on sale in the United States on October 14, it was available from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. Having three distributors on launch day, rather than just one, surely helped contribute to the iPhone 4S's stellar opening weekend.
AT&T and Sprint both announced before Friday was over that they had seen their best-ever single-day sales thanks to the iPhone 4S (and iPhone 4). Neither shared specific numbers, however.
But those four million devices weren't all sold in the United States. Apple's newest smartphone also hit store shelves Friday in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Apple did not provide a breakdown of sales figures based on market. The iPhone 4S will hit an additional 22 markets on October 28, and will be sold in more than 70 countries by the time 2011 closes.
"iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend--the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior VP of worldwide product marketing in a statement. "iPhone 4S is a hit with customers around the world, and together with iOS 5 and iCloud, is the best iPhone ever."
[Does the phone justify the hype? Read iPhone 4S: My First Night.]
Speaking of iOS 5 and iCloud, Apple shared some interesting stats on those two as well. Since its October 12 debut, 25 million iOS users have updated their devices to iOS 5. iOS 5 is the latest operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and it offers a number of new features, such as improved notifications, goosed browser performance, Reminders, Newsstand, iMessage, and many more.
iCloud managed to score 20 million new customers, according to Apple. iCloud is Apple's cloud-based syncing service that keeps information between iOS devices and Apple computers all up to date.
Despite these sales and customer success stories, none of it went smoothly.
Starting on October 12, users looking to update to iOS 5 were met with erased apps, deleted contacts, and bricked iPhones. Activation issues plagued eager iPhone shoppers on October 14, preventing many from activating their new smartphones in a timely manner. iCloud, too, failed to launch successfully for many customers. The troubles were frustrating to many, who took to Apple support forums, Facebook, and Twitter to vent about their experiences.
The iPhone 4S has a dual-core 1-GHz A5 processor; 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, flash, and 1080p HD video capture; HSPA+/CDMA, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0 radios; Siri personal assistant, and iOS 5. It maintains the same size, shape, design, and appearance of the iPhone 4.
The 16-GB model costs $199, the 32-GB model costs $299, and the 64-GB model costs $399.