After our quick look yesterday at the first day of sales of the new iPhone 3G S in the UK, the US joined the party with bigger-than-expected crowds eager to snap up the new handset.

Early reports suggest the new phone may have outdone the Palm Pre's debut earlier this month by a factor of ten, providing conclusive early evidence of the victor in the so-called smartphone war.

Palm Pre burned

The Palm handset racked up 50,000 to 100,000 sales when it arrived on 6 June, whereas observers are predicting up to half a million 3G S sales in the US this weekend.

According to Reuters, crowds queued outside Apple stores in New York City and San Francisco before the shops opened, even though pre-orders were being taken for the first time ever.

Impressive feat

One analyst was impressed, concluding: "To have lines anywhere near the length of the ones we saw at the Fifth Avenue store is an impressive feat for any smartphone."

Nonetheless, early reports from across the Atlantic are suggesting Apple is still having difficulty getting all the new iPhones activated right away.

Some customers have, apparently, been told they'll have to wait up to 48 hours to be able to use their new toys.