Hot Potato: Apple’s iPhone 4S Does Record 4 Million Sales

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On your mark, get set, four million iPhones sold in just three days! That, according to Apple, is the number of iPhone 4S units sold worldwide during the new iOS-based handheld’s opening weekend. The iPhone 4S launched on October 14 (last Friday) in seven countries, with plans to add 22 more on October 28 and over 70 total by the end of the year.

That four million’s also a record: Apple’s original iPhone 4 managed just 1.7 million units—a company record at the time—during its first three days on sale last summer.

(MORE: At Least One Million People Want Apple’s iPhone 4s)

“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 Apple marketing senior vice president Philip Schiller 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.”

Apple also says that over 25 million people have downloaded and are using iOS 5, just five days after the mobile operating system rethink for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch was released. iCloud, the company’s online storage and synchronization tool that replaces MobileMe, has seen 20 million customers sign up, says Apple (the number presumably includes existing MobileMe as well as actually new iCloud customers).

Not mentioned: the problem-filled product launch. While iOS was understandably delayed in download as users swarmed Cupertino’s servers to grab a copy, iCloud actually knocked people offline throughout the weekend. I lost count of the number of times my Apple Mail client tossed up the lightning-bolt disconnect circle, or iCloud.com spit back error messages saying the service was temporarily unavailable.

In any event, the iPhone 4S clearly topped analyst expectations, which were optimistically in the “three million units” range going into launch. And Sprint, which is selling the iPhone for the first time, “reported its best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history,” says the Washington Post.

MORE: Rumor: Apple’s iPad 3 Moving into Production Early

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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