Rumors have surfaced online that Apple and its partner AT&T Wireless have ceased to offer the iPhone 4 without a two-year service contract. Speculation on the issue has blamed the policy change on everything from an impending Verizon iPhone to AT&T greed. These reports would be informative except for one thing, the rumor is not true.
Both AT&T and Apple offer the iPhone 4 without a contract at no-commitment pricing. However, these deals are not available online. AT&T representatives have verified that the iPhone 4 can be purchased without a contract in person, from either an AT&T Wireless retail store or an Apple Store. To have an iPhone purchased online and shipped to your residence or place of business, a two-year contract is required.
This may come as no surprise to iPhone owners: AT&T ranks last out of the four major service carriers when it comes to customer satisfaction. Consumer Reports surveyed 50,000 wireless subscribers in 26 cities for the annual report.
Speculation has been rampant over a Verizon Wireless iPhone, however a simpler path for Apple to expand its iPhone market would be to offer the device to T-Mobile. Doug Reid, an analyst at Thomas Weisel, sees this move as a logical step.
Apple already offers the iPhone through Germany's T-Mobile unit (T-Mobile is owned by Deutsche Telekom). The carrier has compatible wireless technology to AT&T and wouldn't require any hardware changes to the iPhone, unlike any move to Verizon Wireless.
Vodafone Australia has officially been notified by its distributor of the iPhone 3G that the 16GB model is an EOL (end of life) product. Only a few weeks' supply is left and the model will be discontinued when these are sold.
Further signs point to the impending release of a next generation iPhone, possibly by July 17th. According to sources who have contacted the company, AT&T is drawing down current iPhone model inventories and has no plans to restock.
In a move to preserve the exclusive relationship with Apple and increase iPhone sales, AT&T may be considering changes to iPhone data plan pricing with the introduction of the next generation device. A typical two-year contract would see a price decrease of $10 per month, bringing the cost back to what original iPhone users signed up for in 2007.
Market research has shown that the high monthly cost associated with iPhone contracts may steer some users away from purchasing the device. The minimum cost over the required two-year contract amounts to over $1700 not including text messaging, taxes and fees.
UPDATE: Verizon Wireless and Apple will launch the CDMA iPhone 4 on February 10, 2011 in stores. Existing Verizon customers can pre-order starting February 3, 2011. Click the following link for more details on the Verizon iPhone launch.
UPDATE: 01/04/2010 - Analysts are reporting that Apple is in negotations with Verizon regarding pricing of a CDMA iPhone. These reports are, as of yet, unconfirmed.
Apple and AT&T (formerly Cingular) have signed a five year exclusivity agreement.
If you're on another American carrier, you'll have to wait for an unlocked version of the IPhone to come along, or wait 5 years.
The iPhone will be available for other networks in Europe starting Q4 2007.
Yes, the iPhone will work overseas, and not just in Europe and Asia. The iPhone is a GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) phone. GSM, which uses narrowband TDMA, was first introduced as a standard in 1991 and is now in place in over 100 countries.
Access to receive and place calls from outside the United States will require additional services from AT&T/Cingular, which you will need to arrange with them before your phone will operate in such a fashion, but the phone is perfectly capable for worldwide use.
Up until this point there's been little reason to believe that the iPhone would support Cingular's network. Why Apple and Cingular would release a next generation device that was a generation behind in wireless connectivity has left some people scratching their heads. Recently, rumors have started circulating that the iPhone may surprise us again. The New York Times recently reported: