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As new iPhone zooms past 4m, Apple takes off the handcuffs!


By Noel Young, Correspondent

October 17, 2011 | 3 min read

With the iPhone 4S recording stunning sales in its first weekend (4 million and counting) an extra piece of news for US customers is that you may soon be able to choose your own carrier.

The iPhone 4S

For the first time, starting next month, Apple plans to offer unlocked versions to U.S. consumers. They will be able to purchase an iPhone directly from Apple that's not attached to any carrier.

Reporting the US move today, the San Jose Mercury News says, "For years, many consumers have clamoured for unlocked iPhones so they wouldn't have to sign a long-term contract for wireless service and could use the carrier of their choice. They also could take their phones overseas and, after plugging in a SIM card from a local carrier, pay local rates for calls and data, rather than having to pay exorbitant roaming charges."

Some users have taken to "jailbreaking" their iPhones when they want to use them overseas - but many worry that that is is unsafe.

The unlocked iPhones will be much more expensive: Apple is charging $450 extra for the unlocked devices. The unlocked 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S costs $649; the one locked to AT&T costs just $199.

Also, the unlocked iPhones only work on GSM-compatible carriers. Also, even though buyers will pay the full cost of the phone, they won't necessarily get anything off their phone bill.

There was euphoria in Cupertino today over the launch. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, declared, “iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend—the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days.

“iPhone 4S is a hit with customers around the world, and together with iOS 5 and iCloud, is the best iPhone ever.”

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