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.