Contract vs Unlocked 8GB iPhone 3GS Clarified


On June 24th, Apple released the new 8GB iPhone 3GS. On that day, the device was immediately available for purchase from the Apple Canada Online Store.

The New 8GB iPhone 3GS

As reported earlier this week, the 8GB iPhone 3GS will be unlocked when purchased at full price from the Apple Canada Online Store. The 8GB iPhone 3GS is a new capacity (previously featuring 16GB and 32GB), will only be available in black, and costs $549.

Now, the 8GB iPhone 3GS is also available at your local Apple Canada Retail Store. Once again, the same terms as the online store apply in that the device is unlocked, available in black, and costs $549.

When Bought Outright

Directly from Apple, users can purchase the iPhone 3GS 16/32GB in black or white at the discounted $99 or $149 price points (or at full price) and each device will be locked to the chosen carrier. The iPhone 3GS 8GB is only available unlocked for $549 directly from Apple.

This is all likely to change by the end of July 2010 when the iPhone 4 launches in Canada. What will happen is the iPhone 4 will be available at 16/32GB capacities locked on contract or unlocked if purchased at full price. The 8GB iPhone 3GS will also be locked on contract in July or unlocked if purchased at full price.

16/32GB Models Sold Locked No Matter What

So if you’re thinking of picking up an iPhone 3GS from an Apple Canada Retail Store, keep in mind which model you are buying.

The 16/32GB iPhone 3GS models will be available locked to a carrier whether purchased on a contract or not and the 8GB iPhone 3GS model will only be available unlocked at full price and not available at a discount on a carrier contract.

However, if you plan on purchasing the 8GB, 16GB or 32GB iPhone 3GS directly from a carrier store (instead of an Apple Store), that device will be locked automatically to that specific carrier.


  • I'd like to see some Canadian price comparisons of locked vs unlocked phones. All the telco mumbo jumbo confuses me, I'm just looking to save money.

  • Numb

    Only an idiot would buy a 3GS on contract with the new 4GS is just around the corner.

  • It's an iPhone 4!! I'm picky πŸ˜›

  • It'll be $199 locked/$649-699 unlocked for the 16GB iPhone 4, and $299 locked/$749-799 unlocked for the 32GB iPhone 4. Keep in mind, if you use it properly, you could even save more with the unlocked versions, even considering they're more expensive. Also, there's speculation that Apple will release a 64GB iPhone 4 by September or at the thinning of the new year

  • Yeah, there's no such thing as an iPhone 4GS, don't botcher the name

  • xKaMikAx

    I wonder how they will know the difference between unlocked and locked phones for warranty replacement…

  • Xaroc

    Not totally true. I know a few people who are not willing to drop 700-800 bucks on a phone. Where 549 might be just reasonable enough to crack their wallet open.
    Not everyone reaches for the biggest n best, some just want a decent phone at a reasonable price ;). Options my friend…. Options

  • Amalakiman

    What is the difference between a locked and unlocked phone??

  • Xaroc

    Unlocked you can move from Rogers to fido or to other carriers. Locked
    means your “locked” to just Rogers or fido ect

  • Draz

    That wouldn't matter since you can take a locked phone to an Apple store and get the same service as taking an unlocked one there.

    As long as you purchased that phone unlocked. If it was locked and you unlocked it then I believe that voids the warranty, and Apple has their ways of determining if it was sold unlocked or got unlocked after.

  • Thank You.
    I hate being 'That Guy', but it also bothers me when people call it the iPhone 4G (although this accurate if the G means Generation. However as the iPhone 2G, 3G and 3GS were never referred to by G meaning Generation, so it's still annoying).

  • Numb was talking about the 8Gb 3GS 'On Contract', which will probably cost more like $99. So you're still right, but for different reasons. πŸ˜‰

  • Xaroc

    Yeah I was aware ^_^ it was just easier for me to explain that way.
    No matter if you sign a contract for 3GS or iPhone4 your still screwed
    for next years iPhone5 lol will have to buy it out.

  • mackman6151

    i spoket o an apple rep on friday who said all iphone 4's will be unlocked even if u get it on contract from Rogers (just you'll be locked in for 3 years)….is that true?

  • Noahattic

    wow!! that's what i've been expecting for long time. just like uk and france!!!

  • Xaroc

    It might be. But from what I understand. Unlocked phones come from the
    apple store only. If you buy at a Rogers retailer it's locked to
    Rogers. That's my understanding anyways

  • do you think dropping $800 on the iphone 4 be worth it, will this one last two years to? i bought my 3g right before they released the 3gs though and apple out dates this stuff quick

    also.. since i have questions πŸ˜› …. buying an imac, this the lowest 21″ spec's alright for light gaming and normal computer tasks

  • Christopher Jones

    If Apple’s boasts about the ‘4’ are accurate, I would definently say that it’ll last at least two years. As you know probably with your 3G, their stuff is pretty good quality and is a solid piece of hardware. My only concern is the battery, although they have raised the capacity this time. I know with my 3GS (by the way, I bought mine outright for $800, and I still have my 3G) I have to charge it almost every night, and Apple describes the Lifespan of the iPhone batteriesas being after 400 charge cycles it’ll hold 80% of it’s original capacity. After that I don’t know how much more it’ll degrade. But, I’m sure that if your 3G (I barely touch mine anymore) has lasted this long without many battery problems, the ‘4’ will last even longer.

    The iMac 21.5″ for gaming? Definently! A friend of mine has a 20″ from prob 5 years ago and it’ll run some good games still. I have a goal of buying a 27″ before the end of this year, more for it’s larger screen and video input capabilities. One suggestion there as well, as according to, Apple might be refreshing their iMac lineup by Septemberish. That’s why I’m waiting till the end of the year, or rather right after they release their new iMac. There’s thoughts and tips that it may include a portion of Cocoa Touch iOS 4. My guess is a little iPad inspiration, but still fully functional Desktop. Apple is very good and faithful in that area. I have lots of hopes for iOS 4 for iPad as well in the fall, but I won’t get into that :).

    Hopefully this helps, sorry for the long post!

    The Apple Enthusiast, I’m here to talk.

  • Not Necessarily πŸ˜› Rogers didn't screw last years 3GS upgraders, and we have no word on this year's upgrade policy yet, so, that's just your assumption πŸ˜‰

  • Xaroc

    It's not like Rogers to do us any favors, also if history follows they
    normally just allow a 6 month early reactivation which would fall
    short durning the next release. Unless Rogers or which carrier you
    happen to be with decides to give people one heck of a deal, I don't
    see it happening. Time will tell, and I sure hope they prove me wrong.

    Sent from my iPad

  • ajax43

    Call me an idiot then. No way do I want that bug-ridden paperweight that's coming this way next month.

  • ajax43

    Or butcher it either πŸ™‚

  • Xaroc

    3GS had problems too at release, I'm sure they will have it running in
    top shape after a couple months.
    But I do understand what your saying, that's also why I'm waiting to
    buy it for myself as an early Christmas gift πŸ˜›

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