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Apple: 4m iPhone 4S handsets sold, thank you very much

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Apple sold 4m iPhone 4S handsets this past Friday and over the weekend, it claimed today.

That meets the expectations of the more bullish market watchers forecasting sales on Friday.

That's in addition to the 25m folk who downloaded iOS 5 for existing iDevices, Apple said. Well, those who were eventually able to upgrade to the new OS.

Not all of that lot - or the 4m iPhone 4S buyers - signed up for Apple's free iCloud service, but 20m of them did, it claimed.

Apple's previous offering, the iPhone 4, notched up less than half that 4m total during its first three days on sale in 2010.

Apple didn't say whether these were sales to shops, or to real punters. We suspect the latter, but Apple's generally tight inventory management means it's unlikely too many were left sitting on shop shelves.

Industry commentators irked by Apple's apparent failure to release the iPhone 5 - they widely criticised the 4S as a small upgrade of the existing iPhone 4 - clearly didn't have much sway with all those buyers.

Shipping 18 months or so after the previous iPhone went on sale app puts the iPhone 4S on sale right when a fair few owners of existing handsets will be coming out of contract. Apple certainly appears to be attempting to synchronise its release schedule with the rhythm of the mobile industry rather than simply pumping out new handsets ever 12 months.

The 4S went on sale this past Friday in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan. It'll go on sale in 22 more countries at the end of the month. ®

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