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If you’re still skittish about being locked in for a lengthy contract and don’t mind the fact that new hardware will almost undoubtedly be hitting the streets in only a couple of short months, and if you have money lying around not doing anything useful, Buy.com has a deal for you, for the low price of $799. That’s the price you’ll pay for a brand-new, in-box, unlocked Apple iPhone from Buy.com. In fact, it’s better than unlocked, it’s never been locked in the first place, so you won’t have to worry about sketchy jailbreaking/unofficial unlocking procedures if you’re not tech-savvy.
The never-locked 16GB iPhone 3G comes with a full Apple (s aapl) warranty, which is probably not the case with most unlocked units you’ll find on eBay (s ebay), but Buy.com does warn that you might not be able to understand your product’s instruction manual, since the devices come from all over the world, and not necessarily English-speaking countries. That means this is probably a case of an overstock buy-out from a variety of global carriers in preparation for the June WWDC ’09 iPhone hardware refresh.
Apparently you can easily swap out SIM cards using these models, so if you’re a globetrotter, this might just answer your prayers. And maybe Om Malik, over at our sister site GigaOM, can finally come back to the iPhone fold using a more dependable network than AT&T’s (s t). T-Mobile, or any of the 30 different smaller GSM carriers in the U.S., will work with these phones out of the box, according to Buy.com’s product information site. Plus, unlike with unofficially unlocked phones, you can connect to iTunes and update without worrying about being locked out and having to jailbreak again.
I’ve been wanting a second device so that I can devote one to testing, and it’d be nice to have something I can travel with and use pay-as-you-go SIMs with so as not to get charged massive roaming fees, but my heart flutters every time I think about that $799 price tag. Plus, I’m already going to be sufficiently gouged when the new iPhone hardware comes out in June and I have to try to talk my carrier into allowing me an upgrade when I still have two years left on my contract.
Buy.com may just be trying to move more units, but they are claiming that they have very few units left in stock. Anyone planning on picking one of these up? If so, what for? Is the $799 price justified, considering the freedom you get by avoiding a contract/AT&T’s spotty network?