The iPhone 4S might not be out until September, but that doesn’t mean a new iPhone won’t be released in its traditional launch window that June. In fact, new iPhones could hit the Apple Store as early as Wednesday… but don’t expect new hardware. Instead, if the latest report pans out, expect carrier unlocked iPhones that could work on both Verizon and AT&T.
So says the rumor, anyway. According to Chronic Wire, Apple Stores will start selling 16GB and 32GB carrier unlocked iPhone 4s on Wednesday. The part numbers are allegedly:
- MC603 (16GB, Black)
- MC604 (16GB, White)
- MC605 (32GB, Black)
- MC606 (32GB, White)
The most interesting thing here to me isn’t that Apple is planning on selling unlocked iPhone 4s in the United States. They already sell them abroad, after all. No, what’s intriguing to me here is that there should by all rights be eight part numbers here — four for AT&T, four for Verizon.
So what’s the story? It’s possible Apple is only planning on selling carrier unlocked iPhone 4s in the GSM variety. After all, Verizon’s the only CDMA carrier to speak of in the United States, and there aren’t that many more internationally, either. Wouldn’t it be interesting, though, if these carrier-unlocked iPhones leveraged the Verizon iPhone 4’s Qualcomm ‘world phone’ chip to run on both GSM and CDMA networks interchangeably?
It doesn’t seem totally insane that Apple could start selling last year’s iPhone model as a carrier unlocked handset for $600-$700. That still would allow Apple to keep its carrier partners happy, while also helping to break the stranglehold of two-year contracts.
For right now, this is just a rumor, so take with a grain of salt. But out of curiosity’s sake, how many of you would buy an unlocked, unsubsidized iPhone if it became available, even if it was last year’s model?
Update: An earlier version of this post said Verizon was GSM network, and AT&T was CDMA. Sorry about that: not enough coffee. It’s been fixed.