The iPhone 5 can now be purchased unlocked in the U.S. via the Apple Store. An unlocked iPhone allows Apple customers to buy the device without agreeing to a two-year carrier contract, however, this also means users are stuck paying an unsubsidized price. Apple is offering the 16GB model for $649, the 32GB model for $749 and the 64GB model for $849.
The unlocked iPhone 5 only works with GSM wireless networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile (T-Mobile customers considering buying an unlocked iPhone 5 may want to wait until next week to see if the T-Mobile iPhone rumor is true). The unlocked iPhone 5 does not support CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint, and requires a nano-SIM card to work.
Shipments of nanoSIM cards have begun rolling out to T-Mobile stores this weekend. The nanoSIMs can be used with unlocked iPhones to access T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. T-Mobile has been working hard to convince iPhone users to switch carriers by promising bigger savings and unlimited data plans.
T-Mobile also began offering free iPhone support to its customers in June, and announced it was building a iPhone-compatible 4G network in May. Unlike the other big U.S. carriers (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint) T-Mobile does not officially carry the iPhone, however, it is estimated over one million T-Mobile subscribers use the Apple phone on T-Mobile's network.
You're not experiencing iPhone 5 déjà vu. Last year major iPhone carriers and retailers started blacking out employee vacations for what we all thought would be the iPhone 5 release, and it seems to be happening again. A "trusted Verizon employee" told TechCrunch Verizon has blackout out vactations from September 21 to September 30 in anticipation of a new iPhone.
Verizon's blackout supports an earlier report which claimed Apple will begin selling the next generation handset on September 21. If true, you can expect Apple stores and other iPhone carriers such as AT&T and Sprint, to begin blacking out the same dates for their employees in the near future.
A German wireless carrier also seems to think the iPhone 5 will be available in September. 9to5Mac published an email from Mobilecom Debitel informing their customers about a fall iPhone release. Here's the translation for the picture above:
A few hardware unlock solutions for the iPhone 4S have appeared this month, but Gevey has released a Verizon and Sprint unlocking solution. The Gevey Ultra S claims to unlock both GSM and CDMA, unlike the R-SIM and TP-SIM which do not work with Sprint models.
The new SIM interposer requires that your iPhone be jailbroken, not be running iOS 5.1 or higher and is on one of the following basebands: 1.0.11, 1.0.13, 1.0.14. This is also the only known solution for Sprint handsets. The Gevey Ultra S is $60 and will be available at the end of this month.
It only took a few months but Sprint finally released an iPhone app for their customers. Like other carrier apps, the "Sprint Zone" allows users to access their account, search for promotions, read Sprint news and locate Sprint stores. There is also an Apple store locator, easy access to Apple Care, and the ability to check simple device info like battery stats and data connection. The App is free in the iTunes App Store for devices running iOS 5 or later.
Waiting to buy an iPhone 4S could have its perks. After all, if you're out of your mobile contract and you've decided to see how things pan out with the new iPhone, there will be more information out there in the coming weeks. Choosing a carrier is no different, and now that the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S are available on three different wireless networks there are more factors involved in the decision.
For some, comparing the costs of each carrier's calling and data plans will be a primary concern. Others will jump right to the big question: who has the fastest download speeds?
When it comes to battery life, Apple's official iPhone 4S specs are a little bit dodgy. According to Apple, the iPhone 4S has one-hour of extra 3G talk time than its predecessor, but the same battery life as the iPhone 4 when it comes to basically every other feature. iLounge decided to investigate how the iPhone 4S improves upon the iPhone 4 in some categories, and how it falls short in others. The tech site put the devices through an extensive battery test and discovered the iPhone 4 actually has a slight edge over the 4S when it comes to battery usage.
In a 3G Data test the iPhone 4S failed to outlast the iPhone 4 in Audio Playback, Video Playback, and Video Recording. The iPhones were pretty even for FaceTime and Wi-Fi with the iPhone 4S clocking in slightly better for Cellular Calls. The chart above shows some of the comparisons for AT&T.
Now that the iPhone 4S will be available on three different US carriers, it's time to revisit data and voice plans available with each company. Aside from differences in their networks, AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint have a variety of pricing structures available to meet your mobile needs. Overall, with AT&T and Verizon offering the iPhone for some time now the two competitors have similar pricing, although Verizon offers more tiers for data and messaging.
Sprint enters the game with higher prices for single and family voice calling, however their data option is cheap and simple. A flat ten bucks every month gets you unlimited data and messaging. AT&T and Verizon charge extra for text or MMS message packages and stopped offering unlimited data plans on the iPhone long ago. It remains to be seen if Sprint's unbeatable data plan pricing can attract iPhone 4S customers looking for unlimited data.
It looks a lot like the iPhone 4, but Tim Cook promised the latest Apple iPhone is "all new inside." The Apple CEO unveiled the iPhone 4S (not the iPhone 5) in Cupertino on Tuesday. The new iPhone features a dual-core A5 processor, 8-megapixel camera, and GSM and CDMA radios.
The iPhone 4S offers 8-hours of talk time (3G), and six hours of web browsing time (3G). It also features image stabilization, facial recognition, 1080p video recording capabilities and the new Siri voice control feature.
The iPhone 4S will be available in the US from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint on October 14th. Pre-orders begin this Friday, October 7th. The 16GB model will cost you $199, the 32GB version is $299 and 64GB version will retail for $399.
Tim Cook is ready to host Apple's big iPhone event tomorrow at 10am PT, 1pm ET, but will the redesigned iPhone 5 and Steve Jobs be making an appearance? Word is Jobs is too sick to attend, and recent evidence points to the iPhone 4S being Apple's next device, not the rumored iPhone 5 with "teardrop" design.
Both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 have been popping up in random carrier and store inventories. A 16GB Sprint Apple iPhone showed up in a questionable Radio Shack leak, and the German carrier Vodafone added an 8GB iPhone 4 and three iPhone 4S models (16GB / 32GB / 64GB) to their website.