On Tuesday, Apple ventured into uncharted waters in the US. The venerable Cupertino, California-based tech giant began selling an unlocked version of their hugely popular iPhone 4.
The GMS iPhone 4 model is compatible in the US with only AT&T and T-Mobile. But the real advantage, says Apple, comes to travelers and other iPhone fans who don’t want to be locked into carriers or contracts.
This news is also significant because it opens the door for T-Mobile users to legally enjoy the iPhone 4 on the T-Mobile network for the first time in the US.
“If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad,” Apple says, “the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide.”
The 16GB and 32GB versions are now available on the Apple store’s online website for $649 and $749, respectively. No international shipping is offered at this time.
Although today’s announcement marks the first time Apple has made unlocked iPhones available in the US, this is nothing new in Europe, where Apple has been selling unlocked iPhones for an extended period of time.
In early 2010, Apple showed initial signs that this day would eventually come in the US when the company began selling iPhones at list price, although they weren’t yet unlocked.