updated 04:50 am EDT, Tue June 14, 2011
Apple now selling unlocked iPhone 4s
As rumored, Apple has begun selling the iPhone 4 in unlocked form, for supported GSM networks. The off-contract 16GB version is retailing for $649 while the off-contract 32GB model is going for $749. Both the black and the white models are now on sale with free shipping at the Apple Store online only.
The unlocked black model has an estimated shipping timeframe of 1-3 business days, while the white model should ship with 3-5 business days.
According to Apple, the iPhone 4 will ship without a micro-SIM card, but "requires an active micro-SIM card that you obtain from a supported GSM wireless carrier."
Apple has pitched this version of the iPhone for users who do not want to be locked in for a two-year contract, or who also plan on traveling overseas. As is normally the case, Apple points out that micro-SIMs activated for iPads will not work in the unlocked iPhone 4, or vice-versa.
US users will be free to choose whether they fit their device with a micro-SIM for the AT&T network or even the T-Mobile network. However, because of 3G incompatibilities, the iPhone 4 will only work over the T-Mobile EDGE (2G) network. This will limit the data transmission speed of the phone.
The forthcoming iPhone 4S/5 is reported to be receiving a "global" 3G radio that will allow it to operate on CDMA networks and a wider range of 3G GSM networks.