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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 4S. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS)
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 4S. (ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS)

Apple books a million iPhone orders in 24 hours Add to ...

At least a million people don’t seem to think Apple’s newest smart phone is all that disappointing.

The world’s most valuable technology company announced Monday that preorders for the latest iteration of the popular iPhone – called the iPhone 4S – have hit one million in just 24 hours. Not only does the first-day preorder number smash the 600,000 mark set by the iPhone 4, it is also the most first-day preorders Apple Inc. has ever received for one of its products.

Just last week, after Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, many critics and observers were unimpressed, in large part because many expected the company to unveil a brand new, radically redesigned phone – an iPhone 5. Instead, Apple revealed a phone that looked very similar to the iPhone 4, albeit with significantly improved technical capabilities. Among the beefed-up tech specs are a dual-core processor that Apple claims will make the new iPhone up to twice as fast as the previous version, and higher-resolution video and still-phone camera capabilities.

In some ways, the iPhone 4S reveal was similar to Apple’s iPad 2 launch earlier this year, when the company introduced a more powerful, but not completely redesigned version of the original.

But the massive consumer response – as evidenced by the preorder numbers – to what was seen by many as an evolutionary update to the iPhone points to how dominant Apple’s brand has become in the mobile space. Even though the combined might of multiple smart phones running on Google’s Android operating system has now overtaken the iPhone in terms of North American market share, Apple still rakes in more smart-phone profit than any other company.

The preorder numbers also suggest the overall mobile device market is still experiencing white-hot growth, leading to a bigger pie for all device makers, from Apple to Research In Motion Ltd. – the latter, while continually losing market share in North America, had still managed to add new BlackBerry users as the market grows.

But Apple still maintains the strongest position in the industry. RBC analyst Mike Abramsky said the first-day preorder numbers indicate the company may sell three million iPhone 4S smart phones in the first week of availability – nearly double the first-week sales of the iPhone 4.

“Despite a more evolutionary update and lack of AT&T early upgrade discounts, strong preorders affirm strong global demand and upgrades,” Mr. Abramsky said in a note.

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