Now instead of choosing from carriers when buying the much-anticipated device at the online Apple Store, the Cupertino based company is also offering the option of an “unlocked and contract-free” iPhone 5.
The new feature means that users can insert nano-SIM cards from any supported carrier for use on the network, which is impossible for the locked phones, which are tied to the carrier they purchased the device from, CNET explains.
However, to accept Apple’s offer also costs some money as unlocked buyers pick up the full price of the iPhone, which starts at $649 for the 16GB model (compared with the subsidized $199 entry price on contract), $749 for the 32GB model, and $849 for the 64GB model.
“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a wireless contract commitment,” Apple wrote in its description of the unlocked device.
“If you don’t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice.”
As Apple’s official web store claims, all unlocked models of the recently released smartphone have better shipping time than the iPad Mini.
All models, starting from the 16GB unlocked iPhone to 64GB top-end model, are sporting a week shipping time — better than the iPad Mini’s 2-week ship time. Unlocked iPhone 5 phones from Apple is expected to lower prices online.
Pop Herald reports that similar to retailers’ on-contract and off-contract iPhone 5, the unlocked device is powered by the dual-core A6 processor clocked at 1.2GHz and 1GB RAM.
The unlocked iPhone 5 also has the larger 4-inch Retina display, a touchscreen IPS TFT capacitive display with 640 x 1136 pixels resolution boasting 326 PPI or pixels per inch.
The Apple iPhone 5 also features an 8-megapixel primary back-facing camera and a front-facing HD Facetime camera.
The next-generation smartphone launched earlier this fall with 4G LTE and free turn-by-turn navigation also includes a top-to-bottom redesign that makes the screen longer and thinner, and the entire device lighter.
Recent reports suggested that the unlocked iPhone 5 would go on sale online tonight and people would also be able to pick them up at retail stores in the near future.
There are also rumors that the supply of the smartphone is “easing with new orders from the company’s site shipping in one week”, down from the nearly month-long delay after the September’s launch.
This holds true for the unlocked iPhone 5 too, which is available to ship within one week, claims Apple’s Web store.
The news comes a few hours after the next-generation phone gets final approval for China release, paving the way for a December debut in a highly competitive market where the lack of a new model had severely eroded its share of product sales, Yahoo! News writes.
The Californian tech giant announced that the device will be released in China in December. However, because of the long wait Apple’s smartphone market share halved to 10 percent in the second quarter.
The company plans to launch the smartphone on China Telecom and China Unicom networks and hopes to bring the iPhone 5 to China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier, but so far no deal has been announced.
China’s iPhone fans cheered the upcoming arrival of the device. “I’m all ready! The iPhone 5 is coming!” wrote one on a microblogging site.