iPhone 4S causes genetic disaster: Turns millions of gadget geeks into sheep

4 million sold in three days, compared to 600K for the iPhone 4?

Apple said it sold 4 million copies of the iPhone 4S during the three days since it was released Oct. 14.

If all the sales were in the U.S. that would be one iPhone 4S for every 75 people, if we included those too old, too young or too resistant to peer pressure to buy one.

Total sales include numbers from Japan, Australia, France, the U.K, Germany and Canada, so the pandemic is not as bad is my first scan of the headlines made me think it was.

It's not much of a relief, to tell you the truth.

The iPhone is among the best and certainly among the most popular smartphones on the market, but the last big release the iPhone 4 – only sold 600,000 during its first three days. Buying six-and-a-half times as many this time shows humans are getting either more stupid, more eager to have their coolest thing be exactly the same as everyone else's coolest thing, or have developed a follow-the-leader herding instinct that will soon have used-car salesmen, insurance policy floggers and other shady characters walking through heavily populated neighborhoods ringing a little bell to lead the more gullible residents toward another "incredible opportunity," marching order like the rats leaving town behind the Pied Piper.

Nothing against iPhone fans, or even the iPhone itself. It's supposed to be a fine piece of gear, just as most previous versions of the iPhone were. But it's not a big upgrade.

Other versions of the iPhone run iOS5, which is the biggest change, so that's not a big advantantage. And the functionality isn't revolutionary compared to any of the leading Android phones on the market. It might fit your preferences more closely if you like Macs, or rely on a bunch of real productivity enhancing apps your iPhone other than the ones that let you knock down buildings with birds.

But this is the minor upgrade that turned into a major release apparently just so Apple staffers could get one more product-shipping-showstopper out the door before Steve Jobs passed away.

This is a product so underwhelming, especially compared to the iPhone 5 everyone assumed it was from the excitement Apple tried to communicate through invitations to the press conference, that ITWorld blogger colleague Chris Nerney got to write my personal favorite headline of the past several months:

In hilarious practical joke, Apple assembles world's media to not announce iPhone 5.

If I'd been quick or clever enough, Chris and I could have come up with a whole list of things Apple could use to excite customers and the press by not announcing.

It would have been a great story, too; Apple's new strategic direction is to make a huge, splashy deal in the process of not announcing anything very interesting.

Then customers went and bought 4 million of them.

I think the joke wasn't the one Apple pulled calling that press conference; I don't think the joke was the amount of hypey coverage of the new Not-the-iPhone-5 was the joke either.

I think the joke lies somewhere in the number of iPhones people bought so quickly and in such numbers it's clear most buyers didn't care if the phone itself was good or baaaaad. They just want the unique advantages of owning the newest iPhone. Just like everyone else.

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