iPhone 4S Officially Goes On Sale; 4 Million to Sell This Weekend

Today marks the official launch of the iPhone 4S. Apple stores are reporting record-breaking lines; analysts are projecting that as many as 4 million units could sell this weekend alone.

After a week of staggering pre-order sales that raked in over a million units sold in first 24 hours alone, Apple and its mobile carrier partners are officially launching the iPhone 4S today amidst an unprecedented level of consumer interest. Tech analysts are forecasting that iPhone 4S sales will top 4 million this weekend alone between Apple’s own sales and the sales of all its affiliates. The newest iteration of Apple’s flagship smartphone is now on sale in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.

For as much as the first weekend of iPhone 4 sales in 2010 was impressive — with 1.7 million units sold — the expectation of 4 million iPhone 4S sales is almost unfathomable. Just to put it in perspective, the tech media is touting the short-term success of Amazon’s new 7-inch, $ 199 Kindle Fire tablet, which is expected to sell 5 million units throughout the entire fourth quarter of 2011.

Apple will easily top that number by Sunday night with iPhone 4S sales.

There are three contributing factors to the early success of the iPhone 4S. First and foremost is the success of the iPhone 4, which has exponentially outperformed every other single competing smartphone on the market today (Android smartphones as a block account for more sales, but this block includes a multiplicity of different Android models) and has enjoyed more sales than all other sales of previous iPhone iterations combined. The iPhone 4 injected the iPhone into the mainstream, paving the way for the iPhone 4S’s success.

A second factor is the addition of Sprint as a mobile carrier partner for Apple in the U.S. Sprint is the third-largest U.S. mobile network, and most of their subscribership losses over the past years have come from their lack of the iPhone in their roster of smartphones. The addition of the iPhone — a gamble for Sprint — is bound to bolster Apple’s iPhone 4S sales in the U.S.

Third, the buzz surrounding the “iPhone 5″ over the past year clearly intensified interest and excitement for the iPhone 4S. While it is true that hardcore iPhone enthusiasts were disappointed by the lack of new form factor, larger screen, and “iPhone 5″ product name, the iPhone 4S’s groundbreaking new features, such as Siri voice activation, an improved camera function, and the launch of iCloud, are slowly winning over Apple devoteés as well.

It’s worth remembering that analysts predicted that the iPhone 5 would sell anywhere between 15 and 25 units in 2011 alone, and that 35% of all consumers would eventually come to own an iPhone within a year’s time. With the Christmas season fast approaching and the excitement for the iPhone 4S continuing to build, those numbers still seem entirely realistic.



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