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8GB iPhone 3GS Available For Preorder, iPhone 4 To Be Unlocked?

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Alongside the USA and select international country iPhone 4 preorder launch this morning, Apple Canada has made a massive change in its iPhone sales policy.

Before today, if Canadians wanted to buy an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS from Apple, they had to go to an Apple Retail Store. Once there, they could choose to purchase the iPhone 3G/3GS with contract or without, but the point being that consumers had to go in-store.

This morning, the 8GB iPhone 3GS in Black appeared on the Apple Canada Online Store for preorder for $549 (outright price) with a ship date of June 24, 2010. The $549 price tag is also down by $50, from $599, for the previously available outright 8GB iPhone 3G.

In other words, Canadians can now buy an outright iPhone 3GS (and hopefully the iPhone 4) directly from the Apple Canada Online Store instead of going to the actual store.

Unlocked iPhones?

Reading into the Apple Canada Online Store iPhone preorder page, it seems that any iPhone (in this case, the iPhone 3GS) may be sold unlocked. The Apple FAQ are extremely vague but it definitely sounds like any iPhone purchased from the Apple Canada Online Store directly at outright pricing will be unlocked.

The FAQ continually make a reference to the fact that a purchased outright iPhone from the Canadian Online Store will be “commitment-free” and that customers can switch to any carrier they want, at any time.

Typically speaking, a commitment-free iPhone just means no contract and does not mean the device is SIM-free or unlocked. However, the FAQ on the page make it sound as if any iPhone purchased outright will be unlocked by indicating that users can switch SIM cards among local carriers and switch carriers at anytime.

Check out these FAQ’s from Apple Canada (bold/red emphasis added):

When you purchase your iPhone from the Apple Online Store, you’ll get it commitment-free. So you can sign up for service with the carrier of your choice and change your carrier at any time. Questions? Call our iPhone experts at 1-800-MY-APPLE.

Do I need to commit to a long-term contract for my iPhone?

Buying a commitment-free iPhone from the Apple Online Store allows you choose your own carrier and change carriers at any time. iPhone may also be available at a reduced initial price with a contract directly from your wireless carrier.

Why does the price of iPhone from the Apple Online Store differ from its price from a carrier?

Carriers typically sell the iPhone with a contract that subsidizes the initial purchase price of the phone. By purchasing your iPhone without a contract, you can use any SIM or micro-SIM card from a compatible carrier, including your current one.

Can I use my iPhone outside my home country?

Yes. iPhone is enabled to work on carrier networks using GSM around the world. Because the iPhone sold by the Apple Online Store is commitment-free, you can purchase a SIM or micro-SIM card and service from a local carrier at your destination. Or check with your home carrier regarding international roaming charges.

The second and third FAQ’s are probably the most compelling.

By contrast, the USA online store makes no mention of a commitment-free iPhone and requires a contract from AT&T to even buy the iPhone 3GS/4. In other words, the iPhone 3GS/4 does not seem to be available for sale without a contract at outright pricing in the USA.

Is this a Canadian first? Will Apple be the pioneer to launch unlocked smartphones of this caliber? It will be interesting to see what develops here.

[Apple Canada]

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  • Josh

    Very interesting, it'll be great if I can buy an iPhone 4 and not have to worry about lining up. Although I wonder then, as an existing Rogers iPhone customer, if I buy a contract-free iPhone 4 from the Apple online store, how do I “transfer” my existing service to the new device? You can't swap the SIM cards as the iPhone 4 is a mini-SIM… will it involve going to the Rogers store? In which case… kind of defeats the purpose of buying online…

  • Ex

    Nope. Just call Rogers and change the SIM card number.

  • lxlim

    If it comes with a SIM when buying contract-free from the apple retail store.

    Unlocked makes it harder for me to decide!

    Since I still have over a year in my contract and if I renew it won't end till 2014!!!
    But I can get a iPhone 4 32GB for $299.
    What's the ECF and EDCF for fido?
    $400 and $200. If contract free is $899 – $400-$200 that's the same $299.
    I rather sign a contract!!!
    But now $899 is UNLOCKED?

  • I just read this now myself on the website and it is very interesting. I'm really hoping that it's true and I can buy an unlocked iPhone 4, so that I could finish out the last year of my contract with Rogers and then switch to Bell later. Has anyone tried calling Apple to confirm?

  • Ex

    It probably is unlocked!

    The Fido ECF/DECF is $300 + $200 and 32GB iPhone 4 will be $799
    outright.

  • Josh

    “If it comes with a SIM when buying contract-free from the apple retail store.”

    That's a good point; I would assume it does, but the FAQ's kinda vague:

    “Where can I get a SIM or micro-SIM card?
    You can get a SIM or micro-SIM card from any carrier offering iPhone plans.”

    That makes it sound to me like it doesn't come with the SIM and you gotta go to the carrier to get one…

  • Ex

    Even if it doesn't come with a SIM, it's so easy to get one from any
    local carrier.

    Also, it may be like the iPad where users can go to the Apple Store
    and get both a Rogers and Bell SIM for free.

  • applelover

    Hey guys I have a dilemma. I am a US citizen but I live in a border town in Canada and I just tried to send the iPhone 4 to my PO Box in the US, but I guess Apple can't send it there… So I had to pre-ordered it for pick up on the 24th. I've had my 3G iphone with at&t since day one practically(I used to live there and I still work there) and I just would like to know, Am I going to have to probe to Apple that I am At&t costumer yet I live in Canada kind of explanation? Can they denied me to sell me the iPhone? Thanks.

  • Noahattic

    hongkong and italy always sell the unlocked iphone. if canada can get the unlocked iphone, that will be awesome!!! it's most likely the case when i reading their new policy.

    i am thinking if we go talk to rogers about micro-sim card, they could force us to sign up the iphone plan in order to help us “save money”…..

    also, buying an outright iphone 4 will be probably costy too, i guess it will be around$799 for 16gb $899 for 32gb.

    i rather upgrade it with fido…

    another thing is a lot of americans will be crossing the border to buy it if the unlocked iphone is really be shipped.

  • lxlim

    Thanks Ex!

    That's still $299 diff and if I sign the contract and stayed till 2014 (been with Fido since 99)
    It will only cost me $299… ohh minus Fido dollars 😉

    Still worth the contract then instead of paying the $500 upfront!

    Gonna negotiate and see if I can get unlimited incoming and upgrade to Visual voicemail!
    Wish me luck 🙂

  • TeenWolf

    If you check out my comment on the iPhone podcast episode 4. I called the unlocked iPhone. I'm just that good. Lol. All joking aside I have one question when it comes to a phone on contract. Do you think it will be locked to the carrier and unlocked phones will only be sold contract free through the apple store?

  • xxl

    just make a template of the micro-sim then cut the sim card to match.

  • xxl

    don't be a contract slave . Buy outright and show the big 3 that they need to change their 3yr terms and start selling unlocked devices.

  • wuju

    If this is true, I'm getting the unlock phone for sure from Apple online store when it's available from pre-ordering. One less thing to worry about since most of the time jailbreaking comes alot faster than unlocking on the latest iOS. 🙂

  • xyber

    I don't know if anybody has noticed but the UK store specifically uses the words “SIM-free” but the Canadian store uses “commitment-free.” Does the two mean the same thing?

  • Ex

    That's the thing. No one is sure if they are truly unlocked. It's vague.

  • Timmy

    I am in the USA and would like to import some iPhone 4s if they are unlocked to sell locally here. Will I need to pay extra shipping duties or can I just have a friend who lives in canada ship them UPS to me at a standard rate?

  • xyber

    It's on the Globe And Mail.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/

  • TeenWolf

    I don't know what's vague about “change carriers at any time” or “It works internationally”. The entire overview is littered with definitive verbiage. Nothing vague about it.

  • Ex

    It is vague because commitment-free does not mean sim-free. Commitment free
    just means no contract.

  • TeenWolf

    The entire posts are exactly the same except for that one phrase, but regardless of that one phrase the telling points are the ones that are highlighted in this blog. To me SIM free could just be a terminology difference in that country.

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  • Pingback: Poll: You Going to Buy an Unlocked iPhone 4 in Canada? | iPhone in Canada Blog - Tips, Tricks, News, and Tutorials for Canadian iPhone Users()

  • Pat

    HELP!!!!! WILL THE PRICE BE MORE TO BUY IT UNLOCKED COMPARED TO BUYING IT OUTRIGHT FROM ROGERS/BELL/TELUS???? WILL THE IPHONE 4 BE AVAILABLE AT BEST BUYS AND FUTURE SHOPS IN CANADA?????

    THANKS

  • montymon

    So if they can sell the iPhone “commitment-free” unlocked, will they unlock my currently locked iPhone once my commitment has been met [ie. I've owned it for three years]?

    My 16Gb 3G three-year commitment ends next summer [though I suspect Rogers will allow an early upgrade to the iPhone 4], I'd like to think that once the initial period is over, they'll remove the lock that limits the phone to Rogers. That opens up eBay [or other] sales to more than just Canadians at least.

  • Ex

    No

  • I have a feeling we're all about to be heartbroken. Check out the last sentence in the FAQs:

    “…just call an Apple Online Store specialist at 0800 048 0408.”

    Huh? That doesn't look like a normal number. In fact, that's actually the number for the UK Apple Online Store, as listed on the equivalent page: http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_ipho

    So due to that simple omission, despite certain differences such as changing “SIM-free” to “commitment-free” in the Canadian version, I'm inclined to think that this is a premature cut & paste job by some web monkey, and we're going to witness some swift back-pedalling once someone notices the mistake.

    Sorry, it's just in the nature of a repressed Canadian wireless customer to think that we can ever have it this good.

  • montymon

    So if they can sell the iPhone “commitment-free” unlocked, will they unlock my currently locked iPhone once my commitment has been met [ie. I've owned it for three years]?

    My 16Gb 3G three-year commitment ends next summer [though I suspect Rogers will allow an early upgrade to the iPhone 4], I'd like to think that once the initial period is over, they'll remove the lock that limits the phone to Rogers. That opens up eBay [or other] sales to more than just Canadians at least.

  • Ex

    No

  • I have a feeling we're all about to be heartbroken. Check out the last sentence in the FAQs:

    “…just call an Apple Online Store specialist at 0800 048 0408.”

    Huh? That doesn't look like a normal number. In fact, that's actually the number for the UK Apple Online Store, as listed on the equivalent page: http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_ipho

    So due to that simple omission, despite certain differences such as changing “SIM-free” to “commitment-free” in the Canadian version, I'm inclined to think that this is a premature cut & paste job by some web monkey, and we're going to witness some swift back-pedalling once someone notices the mistake.

    Sorry, it's just in the nature of a repressed Canadian wireless customer to doubt that we can ever have it this good.

  • Why not pay it upfront? That's my plan

    Thinking long term, when you go to ge the iphone 5, you will have to extend your contract again. and then have a locked phone you can try to sell to another person on the same carrier, or use it as a paperweight.

    OR you would buy it up front, spend a bit more, and when iphone 5 comes, sell it to someone in the USA on a none apple network, probaly for at least the difference in price. heck unlocked 16gig 3gs phones are selling for 700+ on ebay right now.

  • Pingback: Unlocked 8GB iPhone 3GS Now Available From Apple | iPhone in Canada Blog - Tips, Tricks, News, and Tutorials for Canadian iPhone Users()

  • Spirit_hi5

    the price of 3gs 8gb in canada is 549$(usd 545)and in uk its is about 519 pounds (660usd)……………why 3gs price is more in uk then compared to canada

  • VAT

  • brad

    This wouldn't be a Canadian first. Google/HTC already did it with the Nexus One. It's too bad that a lot of carriers are now making you sign up for a 3-year smartphone contract without giving you any subsidies on phones (Bell's Fab 10). The CRTC needs to step in.

  • Sumsangtrade

    Hi, i bought one Apple Iphone 4 32GB Black Unlocked from http://www.trade-whole.com/apple-iphone-4-black-32gb-factory-unlocked-mc605ba-gsm-cellular-phone-p-365.html?zenid=qm3uo57vv53re4vev7mcnih4j6 in competitive price, it not only have beautiful appearence ,more importand it bring me a lot of fun and convenient, i like it very much.

  • tare

    i bought an unlocked i phone from canada, i tried it at the store with roger sim and it worked, then when i went to Egypt i tried to use another sim with another carrier yet it did not work, is there anything in the settings that i should adjust or does this mean that my iphone is locked

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