Yesterday, I predicted iPhone 4 sales would blow away expectations. Today, we're seeing that come true -- with one analyst calculating Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) sold more phones during yesterday's launch than the first three days of any previous launch.

An article in Fortune today relays research from Oppenheimer's Yair Reiner, who calculated approximately 1.5 million iPhones were moved yesterday. Compare that to about a million over the first three days for previous launches in 2008 and 2009. Another interesting tidbit from Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster: 77% of yesterday's sales were upgrades from existing users. That was predictable given AT&T's (NYSE: T) generous promotion, but it brings up some interesting questions regarding the carrier's battle over the next couple of years against rivals Verizon (NYSE: VZ), T-Mobile, and Sprint (NYSE: S). Previous iPhone releases attracted more new subscribers to AT&T.  

As the U.S. wireless market stands at about a 90% penetration rate, switching over high-revenue data users is of extreme value to AT&T. Granted, keeping users locked into contracts is good defense in case Verizon or Sprint gets the iPhone in coming years, but the value of AT&T's exclusive contract goes down if it's not poaching subscribers. We'll have more in-depth analysis of the situation next week.

Amid the Apple uproar, meanwhile, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) is blue, down about 10% today on disappointing earnings. Caught in a competitive squeeze between the iPhone and devices based on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android operating system, investors are taking a dimmer view of RIM's future.

In the meantime, we can only guess at what the iPhone 4's total sales will be before the next upgrade, roughly a year from now, if the past is any indication. The lines are no doubt forming already.

Fool analyst Rex Moore will only stand in line for a Portalet. He owns no companies mentioned in this article. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.