Survey: Potential iPhone 4S Market 25M in US

Despite mixed reactions to the unchanged hardware the iPhone 4S sold out in US carrier pre-orders. Today the device is on sale in stores (as of 8am in the US) and there appear to be enthusisatic crowds waiting around the world. Some financial analysts are estimating that as many as 4 million iPhones could be sold over the course of the weekend.

Several surveys prior to the launch of the iPhone 4S indicated that if there were no hardware changes demand would be significantly less than for a device with a physical redesign (i.e., larger screen). However that doesn't seem to be playing out in practice.

A more recent consumer survey from Retrevo, post-launch, suggests who might upgrade or switch:

Most Android owners appear not to be persuaded by the new device but almost 25% of RIM owners are considering switching. The recent outages at RIM may push wavering BlackBerry users over the line. 

The greatest disappointment among those disappointed appears to be lack of 4G speed capability. However the device is considerably faster than the iPhone 4 so that may turn out to be a non-issue for people in practice. 

If we can extrapolate from the figures in the first chart above (24% of US smartphone owners) it suggests that as many as 20-25 million iPhone 4S units could be sold in the US market in the near term. Globally the figures could be much larger.