By Harry McCracken | Monday, June 13, 2011 at 12:21 am
I wouldn’t buy an unlocked iPhone 4–even if I could do it at an Apple Store in the U.S., starting this week. But if the iPhone 5 is available unlocked from the get-go–well, that would be sort of tempting.
Honestly, who cares whether the phone is locked or unlocked? If available, an unlocked iPhone would be absurdly expensive ($600), and would still only function on one carrier (AT&T). AT&T, along with every other US carrier, charges the same rates whether you're on contract or not, and whether they've subsidized your phone or not. Basically, it's foolish to not just take the hardware discount when it's available to you.
Now, if you could pay the fantastical "full price" for an iPhone, and then go activate it any carrier you want, like on Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile's $25/month unlimited data and text plan, that would really be something. Unfortunately, you cannot, because the wireless industry in America is depressingly horrible.
You're paying $600 for the phone, either way.
@Mike: I would pay $600 for an unlocked iPhone5 within a heartbeat. If you were wondering: Europe has unlocked iPhones for 600 EUROS!
Looking at Apple's current (greatly unfair) Euro/Dollar conversion, the iPhone5 would indeed be $600 in the US. If that happens, I'm getting one in the US immediately, and I know I'm not the only one.