Apple could sell as many as 4 million iPhone 4S devices this weekend as the phone becomes available in multiple countries around the world starting today. Apple's iconic handset is available on three of the four major US carriers for the first time ever, all but ensuring that previous launch weekend sales records will be shattered.

The original iPhone 4 moved 1.7 million units during its first weekend on the market. Bloomberg polled multiple analysts and found that most believe Apple could sell between 2 million and 3 million phones over the weekend launch. But one analyst, Carl Howe from Yankee Group, thinks this number could be as high as 4 million.

Despite what many considered a lackluster unveiling (most were anticipating a redesigned iPhone 5), the 4S is off to a great start thus far. Earlier this week it was reported that preorders had topped 1 million in just 24 hours. Benchmark results started to leak online shortly after revealing a very capable A5 processor and graphics engine that's just a touch slower than the iPad 2 but faster than nearly every other smartphone available as of writing.

The iPhone 4S ships with Apple's latest operating system as well. The new iOS 5 brings over 200 new features to the table and became publicly available a couple of days ago for existing iOS devices.

Despite the initial and projected success, Apple will face some stiff competition this holiday season from Windows Phone devices and Google's yet-to-be-released Ice Cream Sandwich OS, likely launching on the Nexus Prime from Samsung. Motorola is also said to be close to unveiling some powerful new handsets like the Droid Razr with a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM.