Updated: Apple (AAPL) will, at last, sell you an unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S. -- hurrah! Err but it's not as wonderful as it sounds: yes, you'll be able to use it on T-Mobile; but no, it won't work on that carrier's 3G bands. And it's even more fiendishly expensive on AT&T than with a contract. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers scratch their heads and wonder why Apple bothered.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Awesome Super Mario kids' party...
Josh Ong gets inside:
Apple ... has begun offering unlocked models of the iPhone 4. ... Both the white and black versions ... are available, with the 16GB and 32GB versions selling for $649 and $749.
...As with unlocked iPhones sold internationally [it] will work on all Apple-supported GSM networks around the world. ... In the U.S., customers ... can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile, though ... the T-Mobile ... 3G network is incompatible with the iPhone.
Arnold Kim adds:
Apple has sold unlocked iPhone 4s internationally. ... In Europe, customers can buy an unlocked phone ... switching between carriers by ... replacing the SIM card.
...Unlocked mobile phones are simply less in demand in the U.S. ... The higher price reflects the lack of long term contract ... as well as the unlocking.
But it just frustrates Harry McCracken:
I can pull together enough money to pay for a phone. ... I dont particularly want to ... sign a contract with a wireless carrier. ... I sometimes travel overseas. So the notion ... is appealing.
Except ... its nearly impossible to justify the unlocked iPhone 4 ... when you do the math. ... AT&T doesnt give you a price break ... your monthly cost is the same whether you go locked or unlocked ... $64.99 a month. ... Thats a $450 savings if you opt for the locked phone. ... Shouldnt people who are willing to pay for a product upfront get a better deal than those who arent?.
...Look at what iPhones cost in other countries. ... If I lived in [the UK], where the iPhone is available on five carriers ... [I'd] pay the equivalent of $50 a month ... [for] 33% more minutes, 250% more data, and unlimited text messages ... and the iPhone would be free.
D'oh! Lance Ulanoff gave hostage to fortune last night:
Apple simply has nothing to gain from an unlocked U.S. iPhone. ... Apple won't do it. Why? ... Apple is not stupid. Apple knows the utter uselessness of this concept.
...Consumers do not like the rigmarole of finding a carrier and working through ... a more complicated activation process. ... Please, how many consumers in the U.S. are actually doing this? ... Apple does not create niche products. ... Apple goes big or it goes home.
Meanwhile, Jonny Evans thinks he knows why Apple's doing this:
It represents Apple moving to offload stocks ... in preparation for the introduction of the iPhone 5. Recent market reports have suggested iPhone sales slowed down ... in anticipation of new model iPhones.
...The iPhone 5 is said to ... be introduced during September's iPod refresh event, if all goes according to plan ... coinciding with the launch of iOS 5.
Awesome Super Mario kids' party
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: email@example.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.