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Apple reveals unlocked iPhone 5 prices in U.S., Canada

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
Just hours ahead of the scheduled opening of pre-orders for its iPhone 5, Apple updated its online store's webpage to reveal the prices of unlocked models bound for the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Unlocked iPhone 5
Source: Apple Canada


On Apple's iPhone comparison page, the company lists the prices of unlocked 16GB, 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5 models at $649, $749 and $849, respectively for the U.S. Pricing will be similar in Canada, where all iPhones are sold unlocked, at CAD $699, CAD $799, and CAD $899 for the same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB lineup, respectively.

While the prices are out, Apple has yet to announce when the unlocked units will be available for sale, however The Verge has confirmed the handsets won't be available in the U.S. on launch day. This is standard operating procedure as Apple reserves unlocked iPhones for countries where it is the only model for sale, bringing in the unsubsidized devices for the domestic market a few weeks later.

Apple will initiate iPhone 5 pre-orders on Friday at 12 a.m. PDT.
post #2 of 58

Huh. Store's down. I was just going to confirm those prices, since this morning it said $699 for the unlocked iPhone… That's really cool; it cycles through languages on the icon!

OH, frig, it's 11:30. It's down for the preorders. Ugh, I'm so depressed… 

post #3 of 58
Patience my friend.

I'm wondering if they will update the price of the unlocked 4S (it was $549 yesterday).
post #4 of 58
You're asking us if you're depressed?

And does this standare procedure apply given that there are 3 different iPhone 5's across the world with different radios?
post #5 of 58
Shame that Canada tops out with a 62GB iPhone while America get's the 64GB. Yeah USA. :-?
post #6 of 58
If someone can tell me, if I buy an unlocked phone what do I need to do to get cellular? Do I just go to a carrier store and pay for a SIM card, are they month to month deals or can I just buy a SIM - use it then buy another whenever I'm ready?

Thank you.
post #7 of 58

I wanted to see what the cost was for buying a smart phone other than Apple's iPhone 5.  I have checked for the Samsung Galaxy S3 unlock prices and didn't see any options that allows you to buy the phone outright from Verizon or ATT.  I did how ever see the Galaxy S3 unlocked on Amazon and eBay.  Their prices are less than iPhone about $100.00 less.  The only problem is the android os.  Not all android devices can be updated to the newer os.  So in my opinion it would be a waste to buy an unlocked android phone in comparison to the iPhone 4 or better.

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post #8 of 58

I'm ready to pay the $1100 it is going to cost for the 64GB here in India when it is announced. While the Nano-SIM is not yet launched here, I'm sure the carriers are just waiting for the official SIM-cutter to release! When the iPhone 4 was launched, the carriers had the standard SIM, but the cutter to make it fit in the iPhone. It was only later that Micro-SIMs were available. So if the actual usuable area of the Micro-SIM matches the Nano-SIM (and I think the reason Apple's Nano-SIM standard was approved was backward compatibility), then all the carriers need again is the cutter!

 

The funny thing here is that, even though the phone is not subsidised, it is still "tied" to a carrier. You have to buy it for a specific carrier and the carrier provides special 'iPhone plans' which is nothing but a discount on your monthly tariff that off-sets the cost of the phone over a period of 12 months by a percentage. The plans themselves are nothing spectacular.

 

It is kind of the reverse of how it is in the West.


Edited by BestKeptSecret - 9/13/12 at 11:31pm
post #9 of 58

Perhaps someone here could elaborate on the advantages of buying an unlocked iPhone 5, specifically for people who reside in the US, but live overseas for extended periods of time.

 

If you buy the unlocked iPhone directly from Apple: 

 

a) Can you use it overseas without first signing on to any American carrier (AT&T etc.)?

 

b) Upon returning from overseas, can you then use an American carrier for a month or two without signing on for a full year or two-year plan? (i.e. prepaid cards, plans etc.)

 

c) Is the iOS security of the iPhone compromised in any way?

 

This article seems to scream DON'T BUY AN "UNLOCKED" PHONE FROM ANY CARRIER OR BEST BUY, ONLY FROM APPLE DIRECTLY http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2011/12/22/how-u-s-carriers-fool-you-into-thinking-your-iphone-4s-is-unlocked/ Apparently "unlocked" iPhones sold by American carriers are not unlocked at all, only the ones sold by Apple are. Thoughts?

post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by djkikrome View Post

Shame that Canada tops out with a 62GB iPhone while America get's the 64GB. Yeah USA. :-?

lol, either a typo or the world's first example of gigabyte capacity being tied to an exchange rate. 

post #11 of 58
Why does an iPhone cost MORE in Canada when the Canadian dollar is stronger than the US buck? That doesn't make sense. Especially that MUCH more! $50?! What gives?
post #12 of 58

In some countries 1 GB = 1000 MB. In others 1 GB = 1024 MB. Moving on, 64*1000/1024=62.5 

post #13 of 58
Was ready to buy my Black ATT UNLOCKED 64GB model for $849 at midnight only to discover Apple has omitted the buy unlocked option. Only contract iPhones can be bought today. I am super bummed out. Plan to phone tomorrow.

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post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This is standard operating procedure as Apple reserves unlocked iPhones for countries where it is the only model for sale, bringing in the unsubsidized devices for the domestic market a few weeks later.

That's odd for an alleged policy, isn't the difference just a changed firmware or even just a configuration bit somewhere?
post #15 of 58

You better check, from all I have read micro-sims CANNOT be cut down into nano sims due to the nano sims are 15% thinner.

post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIA View Post

Patience my friend.
I'm wondering if they will update the price of the unlocked 4S (it was $549 yesterday).


$549 is the updated price for the 4s, and the 4 is now $450. (Last week the 4 was $549 and the 4s was $649)

post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

If someone can tell me, if I buy an unlocked phone what do I need to do to get cellular? Do I just go to a carrier store and pay for a SIM card, are they month to month deals or can I just buy a SIM - use it then buy another whenever I'm ready?
Thank you.


You activate it with a carrier. Make sure you research it before you buy the iPhone. The model you get depends on which bands your carrier supports.

 

here is a good article: http://lifehacker.com/5942614/pick-the-best-iphone-5-carrier

post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

Why does an iPhone cost MORE in Canada when the Canadian dollar is stronger than the US buck? That doesn't make sense. Especially that MUCH more! $50?! What gives?

The exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollars is very volatile.  In the past year, it has flipped back and forth between both sides of parity several times, and it is reasonable to assume that it will continue to do so.

 

Retailers, on the other hand, strive to have prices that remain stable for the medium-term.  They are (justifiably) not willing to assume too much risk in the event that the exchange rate goes too far south.  So, they (understandably) build in a safety margin, to improve the chance that the price they set now will probably remain profitable until their next scheduled round of price adjustments a few months from now.

 

Don't forget, too, that currency exchanges are subject to entropy.  Every conversion will likely be subject to brokerage fees of, say, 1.5% or so.  Then, the remaining funds would be converted to the foreign currency at the prevailing exchange rate.  Going from CAD to USD, and then immediately going from USD back to CAD again at the exact same exchange rate would always result in a net loss.

 

Say the exchange rate was 1.00, and you started out with $100 CAD.  Your broker would take $1.50 up front, leaving you with only $98.50 for conversion at the applicable exchange rate.  Your remaining $98.50 CAD would be converted into $98.50 USD, for an overall loss of $1.50.  Apple may get more favorable brokerage fees - because they could probably aggregate many individual sales together into much larger overall conversion transactions - but the same principle would have to apply.

post #19 of 58

Why does an iPhone cost MORE in Canada when the Canadian dollar is stronger than the US buck? That doesn't make sense. Especially that MUCH more! $50?! What gives?

 

 

Could it be import or duty fees? As a Canadian living in the US I don't miss this sort of stuff...

post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

The exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollars is very volatile.  In the past year, it has flipped back and forth between both sides of parity several times, and it is reasonable to assume that it will continue to do so.

 

Retailers, on the other hand, strive to have prices that remain stable for the medium-term.  They are (justifiably) not willing to assume too much risk in the event that the exchange rate goes too far south.  So, they (understandably) build in a safety margin, to improve the chance that the price they set now will probably remain profitable until their next scheduled round of price adjustments a few months from now.

 

This is nothing new - Canadians are used to paying more than their neighbours down south for many things. It's just become more obvious lately with the Cdn $ being pretty much equal to the US $.

post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by lizardhowson View Post

You better check, from all I have read micro-sims CANNOT be cut down into nano sims due to the nano sims are 15% thinner.

 

Nothing that a bit of sandpaper can't solve. And I'll be able to reuse that sandpaper for when I get an iPad mini. :)

 

All kidding aside, my concern is if I try cutting a micro-SIM (actually I'll be starting with a regular SIM that has already been cut to micro-SIM size), will I end up cutting into the chip inside? I guess there's only one way to find out. :) Good thing that getting a replacement SIM is dirt cheap over here.

post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post


$549 is the updated price for the 4s, and the 4 is now $450. (Last week the 4 was $549 and the 4s was $649)

 

Thank you for this. So I made the "right" decision by pre-ordering the 5 instead of waiting a year for it to come down in price. For my needs, I'd be perfectly satisfied with the 4S but the price difference between that and the 5 wasn't really that large. And I'm also guessing that some of the new features of the 5 will end up being more significant than they first appear (for example the rear-facing mic and noise cancellation).

post #23 of 58
radar,

You can purchase the unlocked phone and swap out the SIM whenever you like. You have a few options regarding how you want to deal with phone plans:

For my example, I live in Canada but travel a lot for work. I have an iPhone contract with a Canadian provider and when the iPhone 4 came out, instead of upgrading with them and getting a locked, subsidized phone, I purchased an unlocked one from Apple. I use my Canadian SIM and have all the iPhone specific features (data plan, visual voice mail etc...) and pay the monthly bill. I also have an ATT pay and go SIM for the US. I top it up when needed and when I arrive in the US, I just pop in that SIM. My phone number changes, which may be an issue for some, but I save hundreds of $$ not paying the truly exorbitant roaming charges. I can't get data with the Pay and go, so I have a pay and go Virgin Mobile Mifi for that. I also have an O2 SIM for the UK, which I use all over Europe because the roaming is more reasonable (thank you, regulators!) and includes some small data allowance as well (and I have a My3 Mifi for that).

You can choose something similar, or just go with pay and go SIMS everywhere. The only drawback is that you may not be able to get visual voicemail or data, depending on what the carriers offer. I think that as more unlocked phones become available, you will have more options.

I save tons of money and take great satisfaction by not paying the extortion fees for roaming!
post #24 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post

Perhaps someone here could elaborate on the advantages of buying an unlocked iPhone 5, specifically for people who reside in the US, but live overseas for extended periods of time.

 

If you buy the unlocked iPhone directly from Apple: 

 

a) Can you use it overseas without first signing on to any American carrier (AT&T etc.)?

 

b) Upon returning from overseas, can you then use an American carrier for a month or two without signing on for a full year or two-year plan? (i.e. prepaid cards, plans etc.)

 

c) Is the iOS security of the iPhone compromised in any way?

 

This article seems to scream DON'T BUY AN "UNLOCKED" PHONE FROM ANY CARRIER OR BEST BUY, ONLY FROM APPLE DIRECTLY http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2011/12/22/how-u-s-carriers-fool-you-into-thinking-your-iphone-4s-is-unlocked/ Apparently "unlocked" iPhones sold by American carriers are not unlocked at all, only the ones sold by Apple are. Thoughts?

 

I'm haven't read the article completely, but I think it is referring to phones that were originally subsidized by a carrier and then subsequently "unlocked". I'm not sure what's going on there, but if you buy an unlocked phone from Apple it will truly be unlocked.

post #25 of 58
radar, if you're going to be overseas you're probably better off getting an iPhone 4s as its one model that works all over the world (or that is the idea with it).

The 5 has 3 different models and the one for the US LTE GSM carriers (AT
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post

Perhaps someone here could elaborate on the advantages of buying an unlocked iPhone 5, specifically for people who reside in the US, but live overseas for extended periods of time.

 

If you buy the unlocked iPhone directly from Apple: 

 

a) Can you use it overseas without first signing on to any American carrier (AT&T etc.)?

 

b) Upon returning from overseas, can you then use an American carrier for a month or two without signing on for a full year or two-year plan? (i.e. prepaid cards, plans etc.)

 

c) Is the iOS security of the iPhone compromised in any way?

 

This article seems to scream DON'T BUY AN "UNLOCKED" PHONE FROM ANY CARRIER OR BEST BUY, ONLY FROM APPLE DIRECTLY http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2011/12/22/how-u-s-carriers-fool-you-into-thinking-your-iphone-4s-is-unlocked/ Apparently "unlocked" iPhones sold by American carriers are not unlocked at all, only the ones sold by Apple are. Thoughts?

An unlocked phone means one thing - the phone is not restricted to a single carrier. The phone still needs to have the technology to work with a specific network. This is why iPhones with GSM (which was always the AT&T iPhone and the iPhone 4S, which includes both CDMA and GSM) would work in most other markets, as GSM is the most prevalent cellular technology.

 

Once you have an unlocked GSM phone, you can swap out the SIM card to use one from any provider. Outside of the USA, prepaid SIM cards have been available forever. For example, in Europe you can walk into any cell phone store and buy a prepaid SIM that can be used in any unlocked GSM phone. So the answer to your questions:

 

a) Yes. Just insert the SIM card from the local operator and assuming you have any usage credit, it will work fine. You will have a local phone number.

b) Yes. Just buy a prepaid SIM and plan. No contract required. For AT&T, you cannot use their Go Plan options. They block iPhones on it. You must use their other prepaid plan.

c) No. It has no affect whatsoever on the phone. Just your wallet.

 

The iPhone 5 is making it a bit more tricky because there are multiple versions - a GSM version and two CDMA versions - and each version supports different LTE bands. You will need to ensure you get the GSM version of the iPhone 5 and not the CDMA versions, which work on Verizon and Sprint. Your only option for LTE in the USA is AT&T if you use the GSM iPhone 5, and most likely you won't have access to LTE outside of the USA. There might be a few markets, but most won't seem to work. What will work is HSPA+ and DC-HSPA, which currently have comparable performance to most LTE implementations. LTE definitely has higher upward limits (100Mbps versus HSPA+ 42Mbps) but the current networks aren't supporting that top end yet.

post #27 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasparilla View Post

radar, if you're going to be overseas you're probably better off getting an iPhone 4s as its one model that works all over the world (or that is the idea with it).
The 5 has 3 different models and the one for the US LTE GSM carriers (AT

But that's just LTE. I'm pretty sure all the pre-LTE GSM-series standards are global compatible.
post #28 of 58
"Shame that Canada tops out with a 62GB iPhone while America get's the 64GB. Yeah USA. :-?"

Maybe in Canada they're required to state the true capacity rather than being allowed to round it up as they do in the USA. It's 62GB of real memory in the USA, not 64GB.
post #29 of 58
rcomeau, AIA, Sasparliia, Focher....thanks gents very useful info...I reckon I'll order one in the next month.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

But that's just LTE. I'm pretty sure all the pre-LTE GSM-series standards are global compatible.

right, will check that one with Apple, thanks.
post #31 of 58

In that case the Canadian phone would be cheaper as the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US greenback right now

post #32 of 58
Like the prices are any different (subsidized or unsubsidized) each iteration. Why is this even a "news" story?
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post


You activate it with a carrier. Make sure you research it before you buy the iPhone. The model you get depends on which bands your carrier supports.

 

here is a good article: http://lifehacker.com/5942614/pick-the-best-iphone-5-carrier

 

 

Thank you.

post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by v5v View Post

Why does an iPhone cost MORE in Canada when the Canadian dollar is stronger than the US buck? That doesn't make sense. Especially that MUCH more! $50?! What gives?


You should be so lucky. Here in Australia (where our currency has gimped the USD for over a year now) the 64GB is $1000 (we pay a special "Apple Tax").

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post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post

Perhaps someone here could elaborate on the advantages of buying an unlocked iPhone 5, specifically for people who reside in the US, but live overseas for extended periods of time.

 

If you buy the unlocked iPhone directly from Apple: 

 

a) Can you use it overseas without first signing on to any American carrier (AT&T etc.)?

 

b) Upon returning from overseas, can you then use an American carrier for a month or two without signing on for a full year or two-year plan? (i.e. prepaid cards, plans etc.)

 

c) Is the iOS security of the iPhone compromised in any way?

 

This article seems to scream DON'T BUY AN "UNLOCKED" PHONE FROM ANY CARRIER OR BEST BUY, ONLY FROM APPLE DIRECTLY http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcwebertobias/2011/12/22/how-u-s-carriers-fool-you-into-thinking-your-iphone-4s-is-unlocked/ Apparently "unlocked" iPhones sold by American carriers are not unlocked at all, only the ones sold by Apple are. Thoughts?

 

 

I have always had an unlocked iPhone. The biggest advantage is I save a ton of money using T-Mobile. My unlimited plan is about $59 a month. That is a lot cheaper than paying AT&T $130 plus a month. Further, the plans on T-Mobile are more customizable. I don't need a data plan at all. 

 

Further, over seas all you need to do is buy a SIM and pop it in. You are good to go. When the phone is locked, you often have to partner with a foreign carrier approved by your US carrier, and it is expensive. 

post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasparilla View Post

radar, if you're going to be overseas you're probably better off getting an iPhone 4s as its one model that works all over the world (or that is the idea with it).
The 5 has 3 different models and the one for the US LTE GSM carriers (AT

 

 

I disagree. The iPhone 5 will just revert to 3G if LTE is not supported in a particular area. 

post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

I wanted to see what the cost was for buying a smart phone other than Apple's iPhone 5.  I have checked for the Samsung Galaxy S3 unlock prices and didn't see any options that allows you to buy the phone outright from Verizon or ATT.  I did how ever see the Galaxy S3 unlocked on Amazon and eBay.  Their prices are less than iPhone about $100.00 less.  The only problem is the android os.  Not all android devices can be updated to the newer os.  So in my opinion it would be a waste to buy an unlocked android phone in comparison to the iPhone 4 or better.

 

 

That and Samsung phones are garbage made with cheap plastics. 

post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


That's odd for an alleged policy, isn't the difference just a changed firmware or even just a configuration bit somewhere?

 

 

Not an odd policy at all. Apple's supply is tightly constrained when the new model is launched. In the US, most people buy the phones subsidized through a carrier. In fact, Apple itself only sells a very small portion of the phones sold. Carriers and places like Best Buy make up most of the sales. All those places sell locked phones. Only Apple sells unlocked phones in the US. So, Apple is struggling to meet initial demand for locked phones.

 

Meanwhile, some Countries only allow the sale of unlocked phones. So, Apple reserves the small allocation of initial unlocked phones for those markets until demand levels out. 

post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

If someone can tell me, if I buy an unlocked phone what do I need to do to get cellular? Do I just go to a carrier store and pay for a SIM card, are they month to month deals or can I just buy a SIM - use it then buy another whenever I'm ready?
Thank you.

All of the above. You can go month to month prepaid or a post paid plan.
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post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcomeau View Post

For my example, I live in Canada but travel a lot for work. I have an iPhone contract with a Canadian provider and when the iPhone 4 came out, instead of upgrading with them and getting a locked, subsidized phone, I purchased an unlocked one from Apple. I use my Canadian SIM and have all the iPhone specific features (data plan, visual voice mail etc...) and pay the monthly bill. I also have an ATT pay and go SIM for the US. I top it up when needed and when I arrive in the US, I just pop in that SIM. My phone number changes, which may be an issue for some, but I save hundreds of $$ not paying the truly exorbitant roaming charges. 

I have a similar situation however I need to carry two phones when I travel. One that is roaming from the US and the other is using a local SIM. I used to use a cheap feature phone for local SIM but now since AT&T will unlock my old iPhone I can use that instead even though I will still have my iPhone 5 with me. I still need to get my incoming calls from the US. Then I just call the person back using Skype as soon as I find a WiFi thus avoiding long call times while roaming. I also have a Skype phone number that is supposed to ring on my iPhone but that doesn't always work so well as most of the time the caller gets sent to voice mail after a couple rings on their end where as it never rings on my end.

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