iPhone 4S launched as BlackBerry users jump ship

Long queues stretched around Apple Stores in seven countries today, as the company's latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S, went on sale.

Among the crowds at London's Covent Garden launch were a number of disgruntled BlackBerry users who said they were switching to the Apple smartphone in protest at the three-day outage caused by technical problems on BlackBerry's BBM messaging network.

The iPhone 4S officially went on sale at 8am local time today in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and Japan, with Australian and Japanese fans getting theirs first thanks to the time difference. Such was the demand for the 4S in Japan that it crashed the registration servers of SoftBank, the country's third largest mobile provider.

Former binman Rob Shoesmith, 30, from Coventry, was the first person through the door of Apple's Covent Garden store in London, having queued for 10 days.

More than a million pre-orders had already been received for the updated handset, breaking the previous record of 600,000 set by the iPhone 4. Analysts predict it could sell as many as three million units this weekend alone.

The iPhone 4S was launched at a briefing at Apple's Cupertino headquarters on 4th October - surprising many in the industry (including thinq_), who had expected the company to launch a next-generation iPhone 5.