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Analyst expects 500,000 iPhones sold this weekend

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster predicts that Apple will sell a half-million iPhones during its first few days on sale.

Piper Jaffray's senior analyst Gene Munster thinks it's going to be a good weekend for Apple and AT&T as the companies begin the rollout of the iPhone 3G S on Friday.

Munster expects Apple will sell 500,000 iPhones this weekend, according to a research note sent to clients, reports Fortune. That's half as many phones as Apple sold when it launched the iPhone 3G, but Apple sold that phone in 21 countries on the first day. In comparison, the iPhone 3G S will be sold in only eight countries on its first day.

Still, 500,000 phones sold in three days is a lofty number. Consider that the iPhone 3G was a fairly big upgrade over its predecessor when it was released, and most notably added the much faster 3G data speeds to the device.

While the iPhone 3G S may be perceived as a lesser upgrade, it does have some nice features, not the least of which is a speed boost--it's up to twice as fast as the 3G, according to Apple. The 3G S also comes with a 3-megapixel camera and can record video.

Of course, the iPhone 3G S will also come with iPhone OS 3.0, released Wednesday to all iPhone customers and available for download through iTunes.