Even with that far-reaching tinge of disappointment over a lack of an iPhone 5, iPhone 4S orders are still expected to be pretty high. However, Apple is only currently selling locked models of its new flagship for Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. But according to a line on the Apple website, an unlocked version of the phone will be available in November.
If you travel often for work or pleasure, the unlocked model is certainly the way to go. It will work on AT&T’s network here in the States, as well as T-Mobile’s (at EDGE speeds), but once you venture abroad you’ll be able to tap into carriers that support GSM/UMTS networks.
So you may be wondering why an unlocked phone that ships with both CDMA and GSM radios won’t be available for CDMA networks. We were wondering the same thing, and truth be told there really isn’t a good answer. Apple simply says that “you can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice,” and that “the unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.”
That suggests that its CDMA capabilities have been disabled. But wait — there’s still a silver lining. After speaking with a Verizon representative, we’ve learned that there may be a loophole. You can save yourself quite a bit of cash by going ahead and purchasing the Verizon iPhone 4S (locked) for the subsidized price. If you wait 60 days, Verizon will activate the GSM capability. Easy as that.
The worst part of the unlocked model is pricing. While you can get the locked 4S from your select carriers for between $200 and $400, unlocked versions will be going for full retail price. The 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models will be priced at $649, $749 and $849 respectively. But hey — at least you’ll be contract free.