1.7M iPhone 4s Sold in First Weekend; Most Successful Apple Product Launch Ever

Apple (s aapl) announced today that it has already sold more than 1.7 million new iPhones in the first three days of the device being on sale. That’s a record among Apple’s own product launches, and I’d guess that it might be some kind of record for the industry at large.

Remember also that the iPhone 4 is only available for sale in five countries so far, including Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. Even with the limited initial launch, Apple had trouble keeping the iPhone in stock and shortages caused crowds to become disgruntled at multiple locations.

Steve Jobs apologized for the delays, while also patting himself on the back for a job well done. “This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” he said. “Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”

The iPhone 4 reached record heights despite numerous reports of signal problems when the phone is held in a certain way, with fingers touching two contact points in the steel band surrounding the case, which doubles as an antenna. While some news outlets are billing the flaw as a major design problem, not all units appear to be affected, and Steve Jobs has advised users who are affected to either hold it a different way or put a case on the iPhone to prevent issues.

The new iPhone also has yet to be offered in significant quantities at secondary retailers like Best Buy (s bby) and Walmart (s wmt), so when stock levels are sufficient enough to allow for more presence there, we’ll most likely see more big gains. AT&T (s att) is also having trouble keeping the device in stock, and I wouldn’t hold my breath for Apple sticking to the July date promised if you don’t live in one of the initial launch countries.

For context, remember that the iPhone 3GS sold almost half this number during its launch weekend, with one million units moved, and Canada, Italy, Spain and Switzerland were among the first countries to get the device that time around. When the iPhone 4 launches in 15 more countries next month, expect sales to break even more numbers, despite any negative press Apple happens to be getting regarding reception issues and the breakability of the iPhone’s case when dropped from relatively small distances.

If you haven’t yet purchased an iPhone 4, but were planning to, are the reported problems with the device influencing your decision at all? I’m in Canada, but I still plan on picking one up next month when it comes out, even if there is no sure fix for the receptions issues. Am I just a glutton for punishment, or do the benefits outweigh the downsides?