LOS ANGELES — More than 1 million people ordered the iPhone 4S in the first 24 hours the smartphone was on sale, Apple Inc. announced today.

Such solid numbers — about as good a start as for any new gadget — might alleviate some investor and pundit fears that the iPhone 4S might not be different enough from the iPhone 4 to do well in the marketplace.

The impressive first-day preorders are a bit of good news for Apple when the company could use some, in the wake of the death last week of Chairman Steve Jobs.

Apple’s iPhone 4, which looks the same as the 4S on the outside but has less sophisticated hardware on the inside, is Apple’s best-selling iPhone overall so far. The iPhone 4 has sold more than the first three generation of iPhones combined, Apple has said. It also held a single-day preorder record of 600,000 units, which was surpassed by the iPhone 4S.

“We are blown away with the incredible customer response to iPhone 4S,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement. “The first day preorders for iPhone 4S have been the most for any new product that Apple has ever launched, and we are thrilled that customers love iPhone 4S as much as we do.”

The iPhone 4S is set to arrive in stores around Oct. 14, which should be about the same day that those who have pre-ordered the device will see their handsets arrive.

The iPhone 4S sales likely got a big boost from the fact that the new phone is available to more U.S. consumers than any previous iPhone version, with Sprint joining AT&T and Verizon in selling the gadget. The iPhone 4S also keeps the pricing structure of previous iPhones at 16 gigabytes of storage for $199 and 32 gigabytes for $299, on a 2-year contract. Apple is also releasing a 64-gigabyte iPhone for the first time, which sells for $399.

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