Analysts' 'disappointing' iPhone 4S could be fastest selling to date

According to AT&T sales figures, the iPhone 4S could be the fastest selling iPhone to date, selling nearly a quarter of a million devices in half a day.

Update: Apple confirmed that iPhone 4S pre-orders have topped one million in the first 24 hours of sales.

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According to reports, AT&T sold over 200,000 pre-ordered iPhone 4S handsets within the first half-day of the highly anticipated going on sale.

Amid the initial disappointment and Wall Street's analysts lukewarm response, with many hoping that the long-awaited iPhone 5 would be announced, such demand so soon could make the smartphone the company's most successful Apple product ever.

Along with AT&T, cellular networks Sprint and Verizon also opened the doors for pre-orders for the iPhone 4S on Friday. No other network has given an indication of how many pre-orders they have sold to date.

Other reports suggest that in the past three days of availability, Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4S handsets, with the company on track to surpass that number by the end of today.

Previously, Apple had received around half a million pre-orders for the iPad, shortly after it was announced. As highlighted during the recent iPhone 4S announcement last week, its immediate predecessor sold 1.7 million devices in the first three days.

According to Reuters, some analysts expect between 27 and 28 million iPhones to be sold in the holiday quarter between October and December this year.

The smartphone, which boasts iOS 5 as Apple's "most advanced operating system to date", will be released this week on October 14th at 8 a.m. in retail stores across the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere around the world. However, shipping dates have already been pushed back as a result of the high demand to at least an extra week.

Apple's next-generation iPhone 4S comes in black or white. The 16GB model costs $199, the 32GB model costs $299, and the 64GB model costs $399, available on all three aforementioned networks. Unlocked models will be available from November, Apple says.

Launched by Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, along with other senior officials from the company, the iPhone 4S came only a day before former chief executive and co-founder Steve Jobs passed away. He was 56.