After ignoring and teasing the iPhone, Sprint has its own Apple handsets to sell and apparently its customers have responded to the iPhone 4 and 4S. A press release just went out calling this Sprint's "best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family" -- hopefully they double checked the numbers this time -- in the company's history, as of 1PM ET. Predictably, Sprint's unlimited data pricing compared to other carriers is being credited for the (unspecified) new high water mark in sales. Check the release itself after the break for the rest of the victory lap, but we'll wait for actual numbers before deciding on the big winner of today's launch.

Update: AT&T just couldn't let Sprint hog the moment, sending out its own missive claiming the company "activated a record number of iPhones on our network – and is on-track to double our previous record for activations on a single day". It's included after the break, and of course we'll let you know when / if Verizon fires a few shots off in celebration.
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Sprint Statement on Launch Day Sales of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Oct. 14, 2011 – Sprint (NYSE: S) began selling iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 in Sprint retail stores nationwide this morning at 8:00am local time. Sprint is the only U.S. carrier to offer new
and existing customers the iPhone experience with unlimited data plans starting at just $79.99 per month.

Fared Adib, Sprint Product Chief, issued the following statement:

"Sprint today reported its best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. We reached this milestone at approximately noon CT/
1pm ET. The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed our expectations and validates our customers' desire for a truly unlimited data pricing plan."
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Oct 14, 2011 17:48 ET
AT&T Statement on Record iPhone Activations

DALLAS, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As of 4:30 pm ET today, AT&T had already activated a record number of iPhones on our network – and is on-track to double our previous record for activations on a single day.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.