Apple sold 1.7m iPhone 4s in its first three days, making it the most successful product to be launched in Apple’s history.

The record sales have come despite limited supply of the iPhone 4. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said: “We apologise to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”

Apple also apologised last week and said it would be unable to fulfil early demand for the white version of the iPhone 4, which is not available officially in the UK until late July.

Research in the UK by AQA suggests that 77% of iPhone 4 buyers queueing outside stores on the first days were upgrading from previous models - implying that 23% of buyers were new to the platform, the Guardian reports.

The previous iPhone 3GS model, launched a year ago, sold 1m units in its first weekend.

Some iPhone 4 customers have reported problems with the reception, apparently due to a design flaw. The new antenna design, which uses a stainless steel band on the outside of the casing, drops when users cover the bottom left corner of the device with their palm.

The iPhone sales results follow Apple’s statement last week that it sold more than 3m of its iPad tablet computing device in the first 80 days.