English: Apple iPhone 3GS

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Apple is still selling more units of its two and a half year old iPhone 3GS handset than many manufacturers are of their more modern mobile phones, according to the latest figures.

The iPhone 3GS was launched back in 2009 and has since been superseded by the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, but this has not stopped Apple gearing up to sell an impressive 1.5 million of the ageing model in the first three months of 2012.

Apple is getting a big boost in the sales of the 3GS thanks to its popularity in emerging global markets, where the high end iPhones are too expensive while the 3GS has become the best budget way to get in on the smartphone rush.

The iPhone 3GS looks quite tame when compared to the iPhone 4S. Its 3.5 inch screen does not have anywhere near the pixel density of the newer Retina Display and its single core processor lacks the number-crunching power of the more modern replacement. Even its 3.2 megapixel camera is looking decidedly ropey.

However, it is the software that really matters and with iOS 5 being made available for both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 3GS it is easy to see that in the mobile world it is possible to teach an old dog some exciting new tricks.

1.5 million sales over three months looks quite small when you compare it to the four million iPhone 4S handset which shipped in the three days after it was initially released. But Apple is playing the long game and stretching out its older hardware to maximise the potential and no other phone approaching three years old will come close to matching this figure in 2012.

Image representing Eric Schmidt as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

Despite Apple`s long standing success it seems that Google is still being seen as the world`s most popular mobile software firm because its chairman Eric Schmidt has publicly stated that Android is outdoing the iPhone in terms of both functionality and sales.

He pointed out that app developers are likely to choose to create software for operating systems which have the largest potential audience for their works and because Android is packed into smartphones across multiple price brackets they are more likely to choose to stick with Google rather than Apple.

Despite Mr Schmidt`s statement it seems that Apple has at last found a way of retaining the premium image associated with its brand while accessing the lower end of the market where people have smaller budgets. By churning out millions of iPhone

3GS handsets and pointing out that they still run iOS 5, just like the new iPhone 4S but at a fraction of the price, it is able to reach into more pockets across the globe and give Google a real fight.