Apple is now selling unlocked version of the iPhone 4S through its online and retail locations in the United States. The carrier-free device sells for the full price of $649 and up. The iPhone 4S has been available to customers in other countries for some time, as most other countries do not lock people’s phones to a specific carrier.
It’s curious that Apple made the unlocked iPhone available today. Earlier, we reported that Sprint will apparently begin locking the SIM cards of every new iPhone 4S it activates, thus requiring users who wish to make calls while traveling internationally to use their over-priced Sprint Worldwide network. Both Verizon and AT&T also lock their SIM cards, though Verizon will reportedly allow customers to unlock their devices for international travel, but only after they’ve had their account in good standing for 60 days or more.
For those of you unfamiliar, an unlocked phone (iPhone 4S or otherwise) allows users to swap in SIM cards from other carriers. This is how the rest of the world works. And when you’re traveling overseas, it’s very easy to simply swap in a pre-paid SIM (which will give you a new, local phone number), and make calls within the country for much less than you’ll spend trying to use partner carriers of US wireless companies.
Unlike previous iPhones, the iPhone 4S is a true “worldphone,” which means it has both GSM (AT&T and the rest of the world) and CDMA (Sprint, Verizon) radios. Carrier locked iPhone 4S handsets can do this, as well, but you’re going to have to give up your first born son to make any calls. According to Apple, however, the unlocked iPhone 4S will not work on CDMA carriers, like Verizon or Sprint.
To buy an unlocked iPhone 4S right now, go to this Apple Store link. Select you color you want. Below that, you have the option to choose which storage size model you desire — but don’t click that. Instead, scroll down slightly to the “Or get iPhone unlocked and contract-free” link, click that, and choose your model. Your order summary will appear on the right. Click “continue” and your’e on your way.