Despite doleful predictions of an epic fail, Apple Inc. has hit yet another out-of-the-park home run with its new iPhone 4S.

Notwithstanding the near-universal disappointment felt when Apple chose not to launch an all-new iPhone 5 at its Let's Talk iPhone event last week, the iPhone 4S has had a tremendous response from consumers. Based on the company Web site's shipping estimates, preorders for the new smartphone sold out the first day of availability.

AT&T, one of the three U.S. carriers for the iPhone 4S, rang the register on 200,000 preordered models of the smartphone in just 12 hours. By Friday evening, the projected shipping date of the iPhone 4S had slipped from Oct. 14 to one or two weeks, Fortune reported, citing an AT&T representative who noted it is the most successful iPhone launch we've ever had.

Apple is offering preordered units to three carriers in the United States: Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint Nextel, with 106.3 million, 98.6 million, and 52 million wireless customers, respectively. Considering overall demand for the iPhone 4S, it could be assumed that Verizon also presold 200,000 units and that Sprint, with about one-half of the customer base of each of the other two carriers, could have managed to presell another 100,000 units.

On June 16, 2010, Apple reportedly recorded 600,000 iPhone 4 preorders in 24 hours. If the aforesaid guesstimate turns out to be accurate, it would collectively amount to half a million units of iPhone 4S moved in the U.S. alone, on the first half-day of preorders.

Our systems were humming very strongly since 3 a.m., [and executives were] pleased with the sales and the ordering process, The Wall Street Journal quoted a Verizon Wireless representative as saying.

After Apple begins delivering the iPhone 4S on Oct. 14, it will go on sale in 22 more countries, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

According to a Businessweek report, three key features of the iPhone 4S could have contributed to the explosive demand. The new iPhone sports a dual-core A5 chip that Apple claims will make graphics performance seven times faster than the iPhone 4's single-core A4 CPU. The iPhone 4S also comes with a new intelligent antenna system for improved call quality. In addition, it works with both CDMA and GSM wireless standards.

The iPhone 4S runs on iOS 5, features an 8-megapixel camera that takes 3,264-by-2,448-pixel pictures. With high-speed download packet access (HSDPA) technology, the device is claimed to have data download speed that is nearly twice as fast as iPhone 4 -- 14.4Mbps compared with 7.2Mbps. 

Given the astounding number of preorders, Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and Apple online stores mostly are asking customers to wait a little longer for delivery. Even the delivery date for preorders of the $99 iPhone 4 8GB model have also been pushed back by about 10 to 14 days.

Is the iPhone 4S en Route to Becoming Most Successful iPhone Launch Ever?

After the preorder tallies from Australia, Canada, Japan and the UK arrive, it is likely the iPhone 4S will be declared the most successful iPhone model yet, and considering the promising sales, the smartphone is far from a disappointment, ModMyi reported.

According to a BetaNews online poll asking Will you buy iPhone 4S?, there were 4,000 respondents in 82 countries. Among them, 58.48 percent said they will buy the iPhone 4S, and 35.46 percent said they will be upgrading to the new iPhone from an older iPhone.

Also, 7.31 percent of the respondents said they plan to switch to iPhone 4S from an Android handset, while less than 1.00 percent said they plan a switch to it from Windows Mobile/Phone. In addition, 4.93 percent plan to switch to iPhone 4S from a BlackBerry device, while 9.93 percent plan to switch to it from another phone.

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