For information on purchasing an iPhone 4 without a contract see our FAQ: Can I buy the iPhone 4 without a contract?
For information related to the purchase of the iPhone 3G and contract requirements, visit our FAQ: Can I buy the iPhone 3G without a contract?.
As we near the release of the Apple iPhone, on June 29th at 6pm, it is seeming increasingly likely that, contrary to previous reports, it will not be required to initiate a 2 year contract with AT&T in order to purchase the iPhone.Of the 15 Apple retail stores we surveyed today, each one reported no knowledge of their store handling proof of wireless service, contract establishment, or contract extensions with AT&T. More to the point, 6 of the stores specifically stated that no contract would be required to buy the phone, and that the customer would be responsible for establishing service with AT&T after purchasing the iPhone from an Apple retail store.
No only does this likely squelch rumors about through-the-roof non-contract prices for the iPhone (previously rumored to be as high as $899 and $999), but it introduces a new segment of demand to the iPhone launch: opportunistic buyers that have no plans for personal use of the iPhone, only resale at a higher price. As we've seen in recent months with the launch of the Playstation 3 and the Ninetendo Wii, large volumes of iPhones could be bought up by "entrepreneurs" looking to make a fast buck on the upcoming iPhone frenzy.
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Clearly the possibility exists that Apple has continued to withhold details about contract requirements from employees at it's own retail outlets as part of an effort to contain as much information about the iPhone prior to launch. Should that be the case, information provided to iPhoneFAQ may be a result of assumptions on the part of these employees due to lack of information, rather than clear indication from Apple that no contract would be required. However, that said, most of the salespeople and managers we spoke with indicated clear knowledge of the no-contract policy. As with everything iPhone, only time will tell.
According to AT&T, purchasing the Apple iPhone at AT&T retail outlets will require a contract with AT&T.