Apple and wireless carriers in the US and a half-dozen other countries began taking internet and telephone orders for the iPhone 4S in the predawn hours, The Wall Street Journal
AT&T said it had ''more than 200,000 preorders in the first 12 hours alone'', making the iPhone 4S ''the most successful iPhone launch we've ever had.''
A Verizon Wireless spokesman said that the company's ''systems were humming very strongly since 3am'' and that executives were ''pleased with the sales and the ordering process.''
The preorders came as Jobs' funeral was held on Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation. Apple has said no public services are planned for the company's former CEO.
Consumer demand for the iPhone 4S could be shaped by an outpouring of emotion surrounding this week's death of Jobs.Reaction to the 4S is key for Apple, because it is an indication of whether the company can continue to generate desire for its devices. Smartphones are Apple's single-largest product category by revenue.
''I wanted to show support and help to knock initial sales out of the ballpark,'' David Michael, 46, said. He stayed up until 2.15am PT attempting to order a white iPhone 4S.
Analysts had a more muted reaction to the phone after Apple introduced it Tuesday, with some predicting that the company lost potential customers by not changing the external design of the phone or calling it an iPhone 5.
The newest iPhone has a similar look to its predecessor but sports a faster microprocessor and new voice-activated software.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated that Apple will sell 25 million handsets in the current quarter.
Meanwhile, as Steve Jobs was laid to rest in a private funeral on Friday, it was reported that Sony had secured the rights for a biopic of the Apple visionary.
The film will be an adaptation of a biography written by Walter Isaacson, to be published on October 24, deadline.com
The movie will be produced by Mark Gordon, whose credits include the films Saving Private Ryan
and The Day After Tomorrow
as well as the TV series Grey's Anatomy
Isaacson, a former CNN chairman and Time
magazine managing editor, was approached by Jobs to pen the biography and interviewed him as recently as last month. The book was originally to be published in late November, but the release was moved forward after Jobs' death.
The new film adaptation will be the second film made about Jobs, following 1999 telemoviePirates Of Silicon Valley
, in which ER
actor Noah Wyle played the role of Jobs.
Sony has not commented on the new film deal.
Jobs, Apple's 56-year-old co-founder and former CEO, passed away Wednesday after a long battle with ill health. The company announced no cause of death, but Jobs had been diagnosed with a rare pancreatic cancer seven years ago and had a liver transplant in 2009.
An intensely private man in life, his family was bidding farewell to Jobs on Friday in an intimate gathering at an undisclosed location, the Journal
Apple would say only that no public funeral services are planned. Apple has invited the public to send memories, thoughts and condolences to firstname.lastname@example.org