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Summary: Apple is finally selling unlocked versions of the iPhone 4S — with a few caveats.
Consumers looking to pick up the iPhone 4S without a two-year contract finally have the news they’ve been waiting for. Apple has begun selling the unlocked, contract-free versions of its latest device, offering owners the freedom from two-year contracts.
That freedom, however, comes at a price. The unlocked iPhone 4S is only compatible with GSM networks like AT&T’s own, and won’t work with CDMA networks like the ones used by Verizon and Sprint. This is good news for regular travelers (not to mention T-Mobile subscribers), who can swtich networks simply by swapping out the device’s micro-SIM card.
Without a carrier subsidy, prices for the unlocked versions of the iPhone 4S are predictably high. $650 will get you the 16GB model, $750 for the 32GB, and $850 for the 64GB version of the phone. Apple estimates that the devices will ship between one and two weeks from time of order.
Ricardo Bilton writes for ZDNet's The ToyBox. His work has appeared in The Japan Times, The New York Observer, and The International Business Times, among other publications.