Apple (s aapl) Tuesday began selling the iPhone 4 unlocked in the U.S., as reports had suggested they would. Both 16 GB and 32 GB GSM versions of the iPhone 4 in both black and white are available in the Apple online store, and 9to5Mac indicates they will also be available in Apple Retail stores beginning Wednesday.
An unlocked iPhone won’t come cheap for U.S. residents. The 16 GB iPhone 4 sells for $649 U.S., while the higher capacity 32 GB model goes for $749. In exchange for the higher asking price, you wont’ be saddled with a multiyear carrier service contract, however, and you can use the phone with any supported GSM network in the world, so long as you get the appropriate micro SIM card and service plan.
As I mentioned yesterday, while the device itself is unlocked, the options for U.S. 3G GSM service are extremely limited, which means that while this iPhone 4 may offer the impression of carrier choice, in effect you’re still pretty much stuck with AT&T (s t), or T-Mobile if you’re willing to sacrifice 3G speeds. T-Mobile, of course, is in the process of being acquired by AT&T, and some suspect this is a move on behalf of AT&T to encourage U.S. regulators to let the deal go through.
Still, many commenters on our post yesterday about the prospect of an unlocked iPhone suggested they were interested in purchasing such a device, with many citing overseas travel as a big reason why a carrier-agnostic phone would work well for them. I also brought up the possibility that reselling the iPhone later might be easier, and maybe even more lucrative.
Now that it’s here, and now that we know the price, does this change anyone’s decision about whether an unlocked iPhone 4 is an attractive buy?