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Apple’s unlocked iPhone 4 sells for $649 or $749

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Apple began selling unlocked iPhone 4 models in the U.S. on Tuesday, starting at a price of $649.

The unlocked iPhone 4s aren’t tied to any specific mobile carrier, which gives users the option of buying the phone -- at a non-carrier-subsidized price -- and not having to sign a new 2-year contract with AT&T or Verizon in the process.

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But, while the unlocked iPhone 4 models aren’t locked to any carrier, they are available only in the smartphone’s GSM version (the same phone as the AT&T version) -- meaning a SIM card is needed to get cell service on the handset.

Verizon and Sprint both use CDMA cellular networks, which use no SIM cards. But T-Mobile would be an option for those going the unlocked route. The unlocked models may also be attractive to world travelers, who could switch between different SIM cards in different countries.

When locked to AT&T or Verizon, the iPhone 4 sells for $199 in a 16-gigabyte model and $299 in a 32-gigabyte version. Unlocked phones get a price hike, with the 16-gigabyte unit selling for $649 and the 32-gigabyte handsets selling for $749.

The iPhone 4, unlocked, is available in black and white.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog


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