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Unlocked iPhones in US For $649

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-about-time dept.

Iphone 334

Endoflow2010 writes "Apple on Tuesday started selling an unlocked version of its iPhone 4, starting at $649. A 16GB unlocked iPhone 4 will set you back $649, while a 32GB version is selling for $749. Both are available in black or white; the black will ship within one to three business days, while the white is available in three to five days, according to the Apple Web site. The benefit of an unlocked phone is that you are not locked into a two-year contract with a particular provider. But it also means that you don't get the subsidized pricing provided by someone like AT&T or Verizon. The same phones with a contract cost $199 and $299."

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Data plan cost the same (4, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36439930)

The data plan will cost the same as buying it on a contract. Only TMobile gives a $10 discount. The govt should make this practice illegal like it's done in the EU.

Re:Data plan cost the same (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440066)

The data plan will cost the same as buying it on a contract. Only TMobile gives a $10 discount. The govt should make this practice illegal like it's done in the EU.

Exactly, except that I don't think an iPhone will work on T-Mobile's network (or Sprint's).

Re:Data plan cost the same (3, Informative)

DdJ (10790) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440132)

It will work on T-Mobile's network since both are GSM phones. But since T-Mobile uses a different technology for 3G speeds, it will only work at Edge (2G) networking speeds. But for many people that will be fine.

It will not work on Sprint's network because only GSM phones are being sold unlocked, and Sprint uses a CDMA network, like Verizon. (But there is every chance that next year a dual-mode phone will exist instead of two different single-mode phones, and an unlocked version of that could well work on Sprint.)

Re:Data plan cost the same (3, Informative)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440244)

Small correction: Same technology, different frequency band.

Since it doesn't support T-Mo's 3G bands, there's not much point to it unless you'll be doing a lot of international travel. If it's only going to be fully functional on AT&T, you may as well go for the contract, since you won't be saving any money on service.

Re:Data plan cost the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440562)

Exactly. I think this is a preliminary exercise to get people and carriers ready for the fall when the next iPhone comes out. This one will probably still be 3G (not LTE), but single chip (Qualcomm Gobi) world phone, with HSPA+ on the GSM side. Apple will probably also sell it outright and thru carrier contracts, but I am assuming that the carriers will be paying the full price to Apple for the phone. No more of the sharing the cost crap.

The use of the Gobi chip could be a watershed event in mobile phones. The fact that I could buy a phone I want and then shop the voice and data plan separately has the potential to be HUGE. The only issue I see is if the carriers will not provide voice and data to an unlocked phone. In America, the carriers tend to be huge douche bags that have congress by the junk.

Disclaimer, Yes, I would pay $650+ for the phone I described, as long as I could get a voice and data plan and tethering was a function of the phone and not the carrier.

What the market will bear. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440158)

The govt should make this practice illegal like it's done in the EU.

  Absolutely the govt should NOT!

The govt should stay the fuck out of the free market and Apple should price their stuff at whatever the market will bear to maximize their profit.
If it's too much for you to afford, then you should save up your money and wait until you can afford it.

Re:What the market will bear. (5, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440276)

It isn't quite so simple. This is a common argument (especially from republicans) but it relies on an actual free market. Cellular phone carriers do not qualify in the US, because they have government-enforced monopolies* on the spectrum that the cell phones use. They use that power to force unfair pricing strategies on the consumer. Usually they do this while saying that they are striving to lower prices for the consumer. They are lying.

* Actually a duo-opoly, with ATT and Verizon sharing the exclusive access. The reason they don't have to compete is because they don't share phone technology. EDGE, HSPA, EV-DO, LTE, etc. Users of one network can't take their business elsewhere.

Re:What the market will bear. (3, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440384)

Actually I agree with AC (and I'm no Rebublican)

There is nothing wrong with the pricing that I can see. Apple can charge what they like. And the cellular providers can charge what they like, clearly they are giving a discount to be tied into a contract.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with this and I see no reason for government interference.

Re:What the market will bear. (2)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440574)

The original problem is that if you buy a subsidized phone, and I don't, but we both sign up for 2 year contracts, our contracts cost the same. So why, if I buy the phone for full price, isn't the contract less expensive then?

Re:What the market will bear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440296)

If it's too much for you to afford, then you should save up your money and wait until you can afford it.

No, if it's too much, I do not buy the phone or the service.

FTFY

Re:What the market will bear. (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440322)

Considering the spectrum these phones use is PUBLIC PROPERTY that is leased to the telecoms, the 'govt' wont be getting out of telecom regulations anytime soon. You do realize it is impossible to have a fair and reasonable marketplace of any kind without 'govt', right?

Re:What the market will bear. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440362)

Apple should price their stuff at whatever the market will bear

The discussion isn't about Apple's pricing, it is about the carrier's contracts.

The govt should stay the fuck out of the free market

2) It isn't a free market. The carriers are government-created monopolies and the prices are fixed.

Re:What the market will bear. (3, Interesting)

imric (6240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440406)

For a change I agree with an AC spouting "free market!". Even though the telephony market is contracting and will soon be a duopoly in the states. Unless you believe a smart phone should be the common baseline for communications, that is. Unless you think it's impossible to support yourself in any way without a smartphone.

And even if a smartphone is necessary to live (ha!), Boost mobile (for example) has non-contract Android service, IIRC.

Unless cell becomes the only way, until Apple and the big carriers hold an abusive monopoly on service, companies should be free to price themselves out of the market, and idiots should be free to spend their money on luxury goods. The government should only get involved when you are dealing with non-luxury items, if then.

Re:What the market will bear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440570)

My smartphone is necessary for my job, and my job is necessary for me to have money, and my money is necessary for me to live (even most homeless people I know--yes I know several--live by money, just what they can find through recycling more than anything else along with a little bit of charity etc., and I would say that they are the bottom of the barrel in our society as far as actually living goes).

Sure, I could quit my job and become homeless or take a significantly lower position somewhere else like McDonalds where my smartphone is not necessary, but that's just stupid and unwise. If I want to live wisely, then my smartphone is absolutely necessary to live under my current circumstances.

Now. Get off of my goddamn lawn!

Re:What the market will bear. (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440432)

Absolutely the govt should NOT!

The govt should stay the fuck out of the free market and Apple should price their stuff at whatever the market will bear to maximize their profit.
If it's too much for you to afford, then you should save up your money and wait until you can afford it.

He said as he finished off into a piece of toilet paper as he stared hungrily at a picture of Ron Paul.

Re:What the market will bear. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440492)

You're kidding right? The "free market" doesn't exist here and hasn't ever existed in telephony. The European markets actually are more free and consumers are better able to vote with their wallet (you know, your magical free market mantra) because the carriers over there can't play the same dirty tricks they can here and phones can be moved onto whatever carrier you like. People are free to buy a contract phone or not. Most carriers disallow even getting on their network without signing a contract, even if you bring your own phone. When all reasonable choices in a market do that that's called collusion, not the free market.

Your libertarian fantasy is not working here and this is one fo the reasons we have the government, to clean up crap for the people when it's not happening of its own accord.

Re:Data plan cost the same (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440194)

I wonder why Apple is offering this if no carrier has an appropriate pricing plan to support it? This is like paying cash for a car and STILL making a payment on it every month. Why?

Re:Data plan cost the same (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440246)

To make a point, I suppose? I bought my N900 outright even though AT&T doesn't give discounts, mostly because there was no chance in hell that any US carrier would make it available.

Re:Data plan cost the same (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440352)

So in your case there was a perfectly good reason. Likewise, could I use my unlocked iPhone with, say, tracfone?

Re:Data plan cost the same (5, Informative)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440450)

I wonder why Apple is offering this if no carrier has an appropriate pricing plan to support it? This is like paying cash for a car and STILL making a payment on it every month. Why?

The short answer is: because people want it.

(it's funny, people bitch about phones being carrier-locked, then act confused when a phone is offered without a carrier-lock)

The longer answer is:

- So you don't have to enter a 2 year contract.
- For use overseas, being able to buy a local SIM instead of paying AT&T's high international roaming rates
- It makes the iPhone more readily available in countries and on carriers which it's not currently sold on

Which is to say, because people want it.

Re:Data plan cost the same (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440428)

Forget that, the government should make it illegal to charge a premium to have an unlocked phone. In the US, the average smartphone is $500 unlocked. Apple wants it even higher? Fuck that. The cost of these phones is nowhere near reality, considering that subsidized on contract is essentially not even half.

Re:Data plan cost the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440614)

Forget that, the government should make it illegal to charge a premium to have an unlocked phone. In the US, the average smartphone is $500 unlocked. Apple wants it even higher? Fuck that. The cost of these phones is nowhere near reality, considering that subsidized on contract is essentially not even half.

They aren't really charging a premium the way you make out.
Phones when sold on contract are usually (if not always) sold below cost price, pre-paid phones are usually sold at a discount too, but not as much of one as the carrier can't be sure how much they'll gain from the customer's business, sometimes it's below cost-price, sometimes to break even.

When buying an unlocked phone you're paying what the phone would actually cost if the market had a similar pricing policy to the rest of the electronics market.
Of course, Apple are still charging the Apple tax, so it's still a rip-off compared to most smart-phones.

Re:Data plan cost the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440444)

Unfortunately, TMobile is discontinuing that practice too. Last year, it was removed from their website but was still available if you went to the store and asked for it. (I've heard that recently it has not been available in-store either, but I have not confirmed that.)

That price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36439934)

is outrageous. I won't be buying one for sure.

Re:That price (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36439974)

Freedom isn't free.
It costs a hefty fucking fee.
That's right freedom costs a buck 'o five.

Well, in this case, it costs $450.

Re:That price (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440418)

Freedom is another word for nothing left to lose (Janis Joplin)

Re:That price (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440526)

Kris Kristofferson, actually.

Re:That price (1)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440078)

Outrageous is 16gb for $100. SD Cards are too mainstream.

Re:That price (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440474)

You should see the prices for unlocked top-tier Android phones!

And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked iPh (3, Interesting)

yossie (93792) | more than 3 years ago | (#36439938)

So, knowing better than to waste my time, I called AT&T today and, as expected, "Apple still doesn't allow us to unlock iPhones." Anyone have a clue if this policy is ever going away?

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (5, Insightful)

sehgalanuj (2057492) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440056)

Apple not allowing unlocking is a load of nonsense. All across the world there are multiple careers who offer unlocking of iPhones, so obviously Apple is not the culprit, but rather AT&T is. There are some countries where multiple careers offer iPhones and in these places you will find iPhones unlockable through a particular service provider, while another tries to lock you in by not offering that service.

Here in Germany, I had T-Mobile unlock all my iPhones thus far after the contract expires or is terminated. It is nothing but the absolute greed of AT&T that stops them from asking Apple for unlocks.

Apple has nothing to lose with a carrier asking them to unlock an iPhone. The carrier, AT&T, does. Do your own math on who is more likely to be responsible.

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440162)

AT&T is actually not bad about unlocking phones. They do all their other phones after (IIRC) 6 months in good standing.

But it is on them to tell Apple to unlock, not the other way around. As I understand it, the iPhone asks the Apple server on activation whether it should be locked or not - but AT&T can tell Apple to change the flag and they'll do it, based on the fact that, well, they do in other countries.

So it's very weird.

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440174)

There are some countries where you can buy an unlocked iPhone by buying it directly from Apple instead of from a carrier.... Canada is one of them, and the Canadian version most definitely will work with ATT (since it works on Telus, Bell, and Rogers, who all use the same technology and frequencies as ATT).... of course, I ended up buying an LG phone for half the price with more features. :)

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440462)

The only possible difference between the Canadian iPhone and the AT&T iphone is the language and locale settings. In all other respects, every iPhone except the Verizon one is the same hardware all over the world.

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440180)

All across the world there are multiple careers who offer unlocking of iPhones

Damn, my careers adviser never told me that.

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (1)

sehgalanuj (2057492) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440320)

D'oh! That's what happens when you don't sleep enough.

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440230)

Strong agree. Apple has everything to gain by allowing iPhones to be unlocked: it makes their product more attractive. "Apple doesn't allow us" is pure BS.

Hmmm (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440356)

I'm not sure I understand what the advantage to unlocking a US-based iPhone is. The only GSM providers are AT&T and T-mobile, right? And isn't T-mobile on a different frequency band or something. So you unlock your phone, and your choices are... AT&T. I guess I could see it if you were doing a lot of international travel, but for those of us primarily staying in the US, I don't see the appeal. Or do I have the technical details wrong?

Re:Hmmm (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440540)

International travel, increased resale value, and the ability to switch over to a prepaid plan/carrier if you want. There are plenty of reasons to want an unlocked iPhone. The real question is, why *wouldn't* you want your iPhone unlocked by AT&T, given the choice?

Re:And, yet, AT&T won't unlock current locked (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440286)

Nonsense - my carrier (ie, not in the US) will quite happily unlock an iPhone. That Apple would prevent it is just not accurate, unless they have some strange carrier-specific terms in the US. Given that it was AT&T doing the strong arming in that initial contract, perhaps that is the case. I get the sense that if they told you that it was down to Apple, their collective nose is now growing.

They look to be much cheaper (2)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36439996)

Re:They look to be much cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440160)

It is cheaper, but not that much. UK prices include 20% VAT.

Re:They look to be much cheaper (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440342)

Oops, I'm in the habit of thinking that taxes are added on. Forgot about the VAT.

Re:They look to be much cheaper (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440304)

Par for the course - electronics in the UK have always been overpriced (the 20% VAT included in the UK figures does make up some of the disparity, but not all of it). If anyone cares, the ex-VAT prices are $696 [google.com] and $835 [google.com] .

What I find much more interesting is that they're charging an extra £100 (or $100, as it happens) for 16GB more of flash. Even a fast microSD card will set you back less than a third of that as a standalone retail product, so the extra profit Apple must be making on the high-capacity models is huge.

Re:They look to be much cheaper (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440608)

Also, as I mentioned a little further down, the profits on any iPhone must be fairly absurd to begin with, since it's really just an iPod touch with a $50 3G chipset and a couple of minor software tweaks, yet it retails at a $450 premium on the 32GB model (a total of 2.5 times the $299 retail price of the iPod).

Also cheaper than here in Egypt (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440582)

This is about $100-$150 cheaper than equivalent iphone here in Egypt.

No one's gettin' my kidney (0)

Fibe-Piper (1879824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36439998)

I don't care how much shinier or slimmer or hippsterific this is, I'd rather use a payphone than dish out $700 bones for this + $70 a month in service fees.

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440072)

In other news: Get off my lawn!

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440218)

Just where do you expect to find a pay phone?

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

loftling (574538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440280)

Maybe there's an app for finding nearby pay phones... And anyway, it's not a phone. It's a great pocket computer with a built-in phone app.

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440364)

Apple would prohibit you from putting it on the App Store and then sell it to you themselves in six months or bundle it with the next release of IOS.

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440604)

Durr hurr... I bet they'd also eat his children, too. lol!

There's absolutely no reason Apple wouldn't allow a payphone finder on the App Store.

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440544)

It's a great pocket computer with a built-in phone app.

Very true. The bit I can't get my head around is why that phone app (plus maybe $50 worth of 3G hardware) adds $450 to the cost of an otherwise equivalent pocket computer [apple.com] , retailing from Apple for $299.

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440566)

I think there's an App for that.

Re:No one's gettin' my kidney (1)

joh (27088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440472)

You're paying $70 a month for fees because at least half of this are installments for the price of the phone and the remaining fees for the actual service are artificially high because there's no real competition in the US.

$70 a month... Elsewhere in the developed world you can keep a whole family using smartphones including data and tethering for that kind of money. "Bring your own phone and pick one of half a dozen carriers with dozens of plans and switch to another one at will" is a market. What the US has isn't a market.

Apple makes stuff, what a surprise! (2)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440002)

Most of the "subsidized price" discount is never directly paid but instead offered as a small take on the monthly contract. Apple sees this as a way to get a more direct cash flow bonus while letting those willing to buy them take their chances getting them hooked up to AT&T or Verizon since I'm fairly sure the GSM antenna doesn't support T-Mobile's frequency though I may be wrong. All this really points to is that Apple is definitively a manufacturer and wishes to remain that way.

Re:Apple makes stuff, what a surprise! (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440146)

since I'm fairly sure the GSM antenna doesn't support T-Mobile's frequency though I may be wrong. All this really points to is that Apple is definitively a manufacturer and wishes to remain that way.

I believe the AT&T iPhone supports the T-Mobile edge frequencies... just not the 3G frequencies.

So you can get a signal and make calls, but forget about doing anything data-related without WiFi unless you're really patient.

The same thing with the old Nexus One (in reverse) made for T-Mobile. You could put it on AT&T network but data was limited to edge.

Re:Apple makes stuff, what a surprise! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440232)

It's just like being on an old dialup line, except that back when we all used dialup, websites weren't the MB/page fat-asses they are today.

Dumb phone (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440010)

I knew there was a good reason why I still use a dumb phone.

Re:Dumb phone (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440094)

Broke?

Re:Dumb phone (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440234)

Doesn't even cost that much more to switch to cell, actually... you can get unlimited local plans in Canada for $25/mo from some carriers (and $35/mo from the "fight brands" owned by the major players). Compare that against a home phone that'll cost you minimum $20/mo not including call waiting, call display, or voicemail, and the math's easy. In the US, as long as you don't want data, voice doesn't cost *that* much more, from my research...

Re:Dumb phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440326)

Smart phones are one of those high-ticket status symbols of the working classes.

Re:Dumb phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440184)

I still use a dumb phone, too. Anyone else here on Slashdot using a dumb phone?

BTW, nice music, man, I hope people give it a try [acetonestudio.com] . :-)

Re:Dumb phone (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440610)

Motorola RAZR. Dumb enough for ya?

I still have a Motorola DynaTac lying around somewhere. But they bricked it when they knocked out analog service. Too bad, they were a great phone for emergency use. If you couldn't get 911, you could beat an attacker to death with it.

Re:Dumb phone (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440332)

Expand your horizons...they are extremely useful tools. Useful too are HTML links...eliminate that pesky cut/paste of URLs for page navigation.

Just get one in Canada (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440060)

We've had unlocked iPhones here in Canada for ages, I don't see why this is big news now. Only $10 more (funny considering our dollar is worth more)

Re:Just get one in Canada (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440226)

It's news because you couldn't get them unlocked straight from Apple in the USA before, duh. I just hope this stops the insane cross-border grey market that caused the insane lineups when the 4 came out last year. I'd put good money down to bet that 50-75% of the people walking out of Apple stores last year with 2 iPhone 4s were selling immediately selling them.

Re:Just get one in Canada (1)

Graham J - XVI (1076671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440620)

I didn't say it wasn't news, I said it wasn't big news. One country finally gets unlocked iPhones and every tech site covers it like it's the second coming of some fictional character.

At Last (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440074)

The US catches up to other parts of the world.

Unlocked iPhones have been available from Apple here in the UK for years.
Then you have a choice of phone/data plans from many different carriers who all (surprise, surprise) all use the same phone technology. No CDMA/GSM wars here!

If you really want something that runs iOS (1)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440096)

If you really want something that runs iOS, then get an iPad2 with Wi-fi+3G, then get a cheap phone. The iPhone has become very unattractive, as of late, and it is not getting any better. You can spend another $100 and get a much bigger screen and 64GB of storage.

I really do not understand unsubsidized prices of phone anymore. Back when equipment was actually expensive, sure, fine. This is 2011, the technology is rather old, and either Qualcomm is causing the ridiculous prices on the cellular boards, or the phone manufacturers and the cellular corporations are simply looking to make more money off of the uncertainty of whether or not the phones will get activated.

I would also ditch AT&T, while everyone is at it, and go to Verizon. At least Verizon treats its customers marginally better.

Re:If you really want something that runs iOS (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440242)

If you really want something that runs iOS, then get an iPad2 with Wi-fi+3G, then get a cheap phone. The iPhone has become very unattractive, as of late, and it is not getting any better. You can spend another $100 and get a much bigger screen and 64GB of storage.

Yeh, but I'm a big guy and yet even I don't have pockets big enough for an iPad. /sarcasm

But I wouldn't be surprised if it was cheaper to use the iPad and some IP thing like Skype.

Re:If you really want something that runs iOS (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440258)

I would also ditch AT&T, while everyone is at it, and go to Verizon. At least Verizon treats its customers marginally better.

[Citation Needed]...

At least AT&T offers their customers the "freedom" to choose how much data they want to use, and to pay accordingly. Personally, I would love the option to pay $15 a month for 200MB given that I rarely am out of WiFi range and could easily adjust my usage to stay below that limit. Instead, on Verizon, I MUST have a $29 "unlimited" data plan regardless of how I want to use my own, paid for, not-under-contract smartphone. Yay Verizon.

Re:If you really want something that runs iOS (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440264)

The 64GB IPad2 with all you mention is about $830 on Best Buy's web site.

I do agree with you on smart phone prices but since people will line up to just have something with an Apple logo on it, then high prices will prevail.

Re:If you really want something that runs iOS (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440312)

I really do not understand unsubsidized prices of phone anymore.

Here's my mystery equation:

$186 ipod touch (a fair price) + $29 virgin mobile pay as you go phone (a fair price) somehow = $649

Truly a mystery. Of course you don't really need the phone if you've got wifi coverage and facetime, which makes it even weirder.

Re:If you really want something that runs iOS (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440398)

You know, I thought about that, but I look really silly trying to put an iPad two my ear when I try to make a phone call.

Verizon treats is customers better than AT&T? Is that one of those "double all of the volunteer's wages" jokes? Face it, they both suck rocks.

A new iPhone every 6 months? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440112)

I had an iPhone 3G before and it seemed like I had to buy a new iPhone every 6 months or face OS updates that made my phone useless.

Buying a (now) old iPhone 4 for over $600? No thanks.

Re:A new iPhone every 6 months? (1)

sehgalanuj (2057492) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440228)

The release cycle of iPhones has been pretty much around once a year. How did you end up buying a new one every 6 months? Also, why not just wait rather than have the latest greatest immediately? Lastly, no one tells you to buy an iPhone 4 now. But, at least for those who would like an unlocked iPhone in the US, there is a simple option rather than getting one off eBay or from Canada.

Subsidized? (1)

SquareVoid (973740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440116)

Why is it that everyone talks about this subsidizing? When I bought my Nexus One, AT&T didn't offer me a break because I paid full price on my phone. There is no discount at all, there is no subsidizing in this equation. The only down side to buying a phone with contract is the contract life itself.

Re:Subsidized? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440412)

That doesn't mean that the bundled handsets aren't subsidised, it just means they're totally screwing over the customers who turn up with their own handset. In countries with actual competition in the mobile market you see SIM only deals on a rolling one-month contract for maybe 50% less than equivalent deals with shiny smartphones.

Of course, in your situation, the logical thing to do there is take the 'free' handset with the highest resale value, eBay it, and use that income to somewhat offset the price of the monthly payments.

Meanwhile, in Soviet Canuckistan... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440130)

They are more expensive in Canada: http://store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/shop_iphone/family/iphone [apple.com]

$659 CAD for 16GB
$779 CAD for 32GB

Given that 1 USD = 0.968 CAD, we should be paying less in Canada.

Sigh.

Do you really save money? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440140)

$199 + 24 months * $40/month == $1160
vs.
$649 + 24 months * $25/month == $1249

No not really.
Oh well.
This is why I still use a VirginMobile phone. The phone was free and the service is cheap ($0 a month plus fees -or- $25 unlimited). Of course it's no iPhone but I'm okay with that.

Will AT&T unlock then? (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440170)

So will AT&T unlock our iPhones like thry do ther phones. I think the reason they had is now gone.

Unlocked (0)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440186)

Am I the only one who read this to mean that Apple had suddenly come to their senses about DRM? I was so excited! Alas, these are not jail-broken phones. They remain firmly behind the iron bars of Apple telling you what you are and are not allowed to do with the hardware you bought, even though the carrier is no longer involved to require it.

Who does this? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440212)

From TFA:

"Get all the features of iPhone 4—FaceTime video calling, Retina display, HD video recording, and more—in a phone that you can activate and use on the supported GSM wireless carrier of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States," Apple said in a note. "If you don't want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice."

So as an American, you either need to be someone who wants to spend $649 on a smartphone but intends to use it for less than 2 years (perhaps, planning on moving to the moon?) or you need to be someone who is so frequently overseas that you have your own overseas SIM and would like to be able to switch between networks with ease. How many people is that? Any hands in the slashdot crowd?

Re:Who does this? (1)

sehgalanuj (2057492) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440268)

I travel often enough to have sim cards from UK, Germany, Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam in my kit. Unlocked cellphones really are useful, not only if you travel abroad but also if you decide to switch a different carrier. Freedom is good.

Re:Who does this? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440392)

I travel often enough to have sim cards from UK, Germany, Hong Kong, China, India, Thailand and Vietnam in my kit. Unlocked cellphones really are useful, not only if you travel abroad but also if you decide to switch a different carrier. Freedom is good.

Yes, and chances are if you travel that extensively, you've likely got the "freedom" of not being concerned about your cell phone bill either, as your employer is likely picking up the tab...if you're traveling that extensively for personal reasons, you likely can afford any locked or unlocked option anyway.

I merely bring this up as the overall cost is a sticking point in this entire discussion.

Re:Who does this? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440478)

Too bad the US networks don't give you full service. There's no competition, so your service speeds are limited by the frequencies your phone can receive.

Re:Who does this? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440374)

Well they can't win, can they? Everyone is yelling at them for having a locked phone, then they release an unlocked one in the US (in the rest of the world this is a non-story - welcome to the 21st century USA) and now a large portion of this thread is talking about how no one would possibly want that.

Seems High (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440240)

Considering that you can buy a 32GB ipod touch for $300, an extra $450 to add phone functionality seems really steep. But they're looking to maximize their profits, so I guess they figure that someone will pay it.

Google should sue Apple over patent infringement (0, Flamebait)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440252)

Selling an unlocked phone was Google's thing. Apple is stealing Google's idea. Really, do you think Apple would've ever done it had Google not done it first?

In the spirit of how Apple would like IP law to work when it's working for them, I think Google should sue Apple over the idea.

Re:Google should sue Apple over patent infringemen (1)

sehgalanuj (2057492) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440430)

I sure hope that your comment comes with a deep dose of sarcasm because Apple has offered unlocked iPhones outside the US much before Google stepped into the phone scene with the Nexus. The US is pretty much one of the last to get officially unlocked iPhones purchasable from Apple.

I have one, eh? (1)

nblender (741424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440282)

I bought unlocked iphones for wife and I because she doesn't want a data plan or caller-ID, and I don't want things like voice mail, call waiting, visual voice mail, etc etc... So we pick and choose our features instead of being tied to our providers' "iphone plan"... Our total monthly bill is about half what it would be if we went on-contract for a subsidized phone... Over 3 years (minimum contract period for an iphone here in Canada), we save far far more than the difference between the subsidized and full price of the phone... The very few times that my wife wants to check her e-mail is when we're out at the cottage and I'm with her. I turn on 'personal hotspot' for her and she checks her mail...

Not everyone uses their phone the way the carriers want them to.

Re:I have one, eh? (1)

awyeah (70462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440470)

Who's your provider?

Will AT&T unlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440298)

I purchased my iPhone 4 from BestBuy for $599 last year and using it on AT&T network. Will AT&T unlock my phone for international use?

Doesn't make sense considering iPod touch price (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440438)

The 32 gb iPod Touch is basically the same device and only costs $300. The iPod lacks a modem, GPS and camera, but that hardly accounts count for the extra $450.

Re:Doesn't make sense considering iPod touch price (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36440528)

The 32 gb iPod Touch is basically the same device and only costs $300. The iPod lacks a modem, GPS and camera, but that hardly accounts count for the extra $450.

My ipod touch has a camera and microphone and all that. I used facetime for about 30 seconds until I got bored with it.

Does the iphone have a GPS inside it, or is it the deal where it triangulates off the cell towers to guess where it is, and to the masses, any electrical device that tells you where it is, is a "GPS" (even ancient LORAN machines are "GPS", etc)

$749 for 32 GB iPhone, $299 for 32 GB iPod Touch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440448)

Feature differences: (1) Cell phone/data functionality, (2) Better cameras (but they're still only cell phone cameras), (3) GPS, (4) IPS-type LCD screen (same resolution and pixel density as the one on the Touch).

Price difference: $450

Is it just me, or does it seem like a $100 to $200 difference (i.e., $399 to $499 for an unlocked 32 GB iPhone) would make more sense?

Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440498)

If you make 2 year contract for iPhone to get it for 199$ or 299$ neither of the prices is the final price and it is pretty strange that page like slashdot puts prices that are not true and impossible. If smallest contract is 39$ month for 2 years then the lowest price would be 1135$ and not 199$ ... no wonder USA spends more money than it earns ?

So few providers in the US (8 options in Canada!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440590)

Does anyone know why the iPhone is so un-available in the US? In Canada, a country with a tenth of the population of the US, we can buy the iPhone on any of 8 different providers ( http://www.apple.com/ca/iphone/buy/ ) or unlocked with Apple (and we have been able to for ages).

Why is the US so different? AT&T just got an amazing deal with Apple when they launced the iPhone all those years back?

Why? the iphone isnt fully compatible with others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36440618)

Why would you want to spend more on an unlocked iphone? the Verizon version is cdma only. only other cdma provider is sprint. as far as i know sprint wont activate a phone they didnt provide. the att version of the iphone doesn't support the aws band that tmobile uses for 3/4g so you'll be stuck with 2g service if you try and take it over to tmobile. so in my opinion it would be completely foolish to overpay for a phone that you really still cant use to its full potential on another carrier.

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