With the iPhone (News - Alert) 5 now available in many countries, the only thing left for Apple to do was to start selling the devices unlocked. Apple started doing just that at its online stores in the United States just hours ago, following suit with countries already offering the iPhone 5 unlocked.
Those interested in picking up an iPhone 5 without the benefit of a standard two year contract can now do so, though Apple (News - Alert) was quick to remind users that the iPhone 5 is a GSM-only device, meaning it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the United States, but for those operating a CDMA band, the iPhone 5 won't work with them.
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Additionally, there are reports that suggest that the unlocked iPhone 5 will also be making its way to retail stores, and potentially as early as later today. Those interested, whether online or at retail stores, eventually will be able to get two of the devices ordered, and shipping time is estimated to be around a week. Apple's asking $649 for the 16 gigabyte version, $749 for the 32 gigabyte variety and a hefty, but not surprising, $849 for the 64 gigabyte. Both white and black versions will be on hand.
An unlocked phone is best for those who do a lot of world traveling and thus find themselves frequently out of their coverage area and into a new one, for which they have not only an account, but also a nano SIM. But given the price range, it's not much of a surprise why Apple would hold back on the release of an unlocked version; not only were most of Apple's devices committed to mobile providers since their launch--and like most any Apple device, there were wait times even at the mobile device retailer level--but the prices are also prohibitively high without the benefit of the contract subsidies.
Still, for those who fall into the position of wanting--or needing--an unlocked smartphone, the opportunity is now in place to get one. Whether they just hate contracts, or need to do a lot of globe-hopping, the option is now available and should make some users very happy indeed.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman