American mobile company AT&T has claimed 200,000 people have ordered the phone. The company is attributing this in part to its 4G network (the UK is going to delay its 4G implementation). This is obviously the successor to the 3G network, which powers many mobile connections at the moment.
I have another theory, and I'm not quite comfortable putting this forward in public - but here goes:
When Elvis Presley died, many people bought his records as souvenirs of his life, and his rather insipid version of "My Way" got to number one as a result (nowadays people would just download some of his better music I imagine, but it wasn't available then).
When John Lennon died, nothing would shift "Imagine" from the number one slot for ages. You can see where I'm going with this.
So I'm wondering whether people whose phones were due for renewal have been swayed by saturation press coverage of Apple and how great an impact Jobs himself had on the Western world in general.
Not that it matters. The 4S may not have been an exciting release, and was derided for it on Twitter as well as in the press, but a slightly improved iPhone 4 is likely to be a damned good phone. I do wonder how well it would have done if Jobs had still been in good health.
Or it could be that buyers are more sensible than to allow themselves to be swayed by headline-grabbers and analysts who look for stuff that isn't in a release rather than focusing on the stuff that is.