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Breaking Monday, June 28, 2010, 05:40 am PT (08:40 am ET)

Apple announces iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million in first three days

Apple on Monday announced that it sold more than 1.7 million units of the iPhone 4 in its first three days of availability, marking the strongest sales debut for an iPhone yet.

"This is the most successful product launch in Apple's history," Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs said. The company's announced 1.7 million total was sold through Saturday, June 26. "Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply."

The numbers shatter the previous launch record of 1 million held by both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Last year, the iPhone 3GS sold a million units in its first three days. Earlier this month, Apple revealed that the iPhone 4 hit 600,000 preorders on its first day alone.

It took Apple 74 days, or approximately two and a half months, to sell its first million iPhones back in 2007. The launch of the iPhone 3G in 2008 resulted in a million devices sold in just the first three days.

The launch of the iPhone 4 was also bolstered by an immediate presence in more international countries. Last Thursday, the handset launched in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K. and Japan. Apple has plans to expand the international launch of iPhone 4 to 87 countries by September, its fastest global deployment of a new handset.

Apple's launch sales of 1.7 million devices exceed some analysts' expectations, who saw Apple selling 1.5 million of the iPhone 4 at launch.

Supplies of the iPhone 4 were constrained at launch, and Apple stopped accepting launch preorders just a day after they became available. Apple was forced to temporarily suspend its toll-free number due to demand, and AT&T, the exclusive wireless carrier of the iPhone in the U.S., struggled to verify eligibility of its existing customers as the company's servers slowed to a crawl.