The press may have been disappointed in the iPhone 4S that Apple (s AAPL) announced last week. But it doesn’t seem the same can be said for early buyers, who first crashed preorder servers then overwhelmed AT&T, Verizon and Sprint with orders. Now Apple has announced that it’s officially the fastest-selling iPhone ever, with more than 1 million preorder sales recorded in the first day it was available.
That puts this iPhone ahead of the pace that was a record last year, when the iPhone 4 sold 600,000 units total in the first day of preordering through all carriers combined.
“We are blown away with the incredible customer response to iPhone 4S,” said Apple SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller in a press release on Monday. “The first day pre-orders for iPhone 4S have been the most for any new product that Apple has ever launched and we are thrilled that customers love iPhone 4S as much as we do.”
Schiller’s note confirms a good sales start for the iPhone 4S, something AT&T (s T) first hinted at when it reported selling 200,000 iPhone 4S units in the first 12 hours that it began taking preorders on Friday. Verizon (s VZW) is currently showing at least a one-week delivery delay on all models of iPhone 4S, suggesting that its preorder stock has already been accounted for. Sprint (s S) has already run through its preorder stock of $199 16 GB iPhone 4S units. Its website does show that 32 GB and 64 GB versions of the phone remain in stock.
Think back to about a week ago. While several analysts, along with members of the press, freaked out that the 4S announcement was “underwhelming” and/or that Apple was “slipping,” it’s pretty clear the people who are buying the phone aren’t taking that into account. So it’s not called an iPhone 5? That doesn’t seem to matter that much.
And keep in mind, this is only accounting for preorders in the handful of countries that will deliver the iPhone 4S on Oct. 14. There are dozens of other countries still to come. As UBS analayst Maynard Um says, this could be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential massive sales of the iPhone 4S:
We believe these data points should ease concern over 4S demand and expect further major carrier launch expansion beyond this year to be catalysts. We continue to view our estimates as conservative, particularly as the preorder data does not include any iPhone 4 and 3GS demand, which we believe are also strong.