Apple starts sales of SIM-free iPhone X models in U.S. as in-store stock improves

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2017
One month after iPhone X hit store shelves in November, Apple on Monday began sales of factory unlocked, SIM-free models to U.S. customers, offering customers the ability to buy the handset now and activate on any carrier later.




As noted by Apple, SIM-free iPhone X variants ship direct from Apple's chain without an installed SIM card and is by default unlocked. The option grants buyers additional flexibility when it comes to selecting a cellular carrier, or transporting the device from one carrier to another.

Apple's SIM-free models support both GSM and CDMA networks, making the device a prime candidate for frequent travelers or customers who constantly jump networks. Being an unlocked model allows for later activation on any telco that supports iPhone.

Prior to today's debut of SIM-free handsets, Apple was restricting iPhone X buyers to AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint. At launch, the company also instituted carrier activation limitations for all carriers save for T-Mobile, meaning buyers were forced to tie the phone to an existing number before purchase.

Base prices for the SIM-free iPhone models are identical to those for units tied to U.S. carriers, with 64GB versions going for $999 and 256GB variants priced at $1,149.

Availability is likewise the same as SIM-toting models, with delivery estimates currently pegged at Dec. 12. SIM-free models are showing up as available for pickup in certain states, including New York and California.

Apple on Monday also updated iPhone X availability on its online store to reflect in-store stock at various locations across the U.S. Just last week, Apple improved iPhone X delivery times to within one week for the first time since the device went up for preorder in October. At its peak, iPhone X ship-by estimates were sitting at 5 to 6 weeks.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    I just got a new iPhone X 256GB AT&T on Friday, so I just ordered a new SIMM Free one for delivery next Tuesday in time to return the one I just got. I won't be leaving AT&T but why wouldn't I want SIM Free for the same price as a carrier only version.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 2 of 17
    tshapitshapi Posts: 275member
    You could have just bought an unlocked regular version from Apple and you would have gotten a phone that woke on all carriers I imagine 
  • Reply 3 of 17
    jvmbjvmb Posts: 52member
    Apple calls the unlocked version sim free.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 4 of 17
    dr. xdr. x Posts: 143member
    I already purchase the iPhone X though US Cellular, my carrier back in November and they said it's unlocked and should work with any carrier. I guess It's too late now if I wanted to return it and get the unlocked version so I have to just trust the carrier then.

    I really wanted to purchase this at launch but it wasn't available. :(
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Apple stopped requiring that the purchase be tied to a carrier back on November 17. I placed an online order immediately.  The next morning, there were models available for pickup locally, so I reserved and bought an unlocked CDMA iPhone X that day (with a Verizon SIM), replaced it with my Cricket SIM, and was up and running.  I also cancelled the online order.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    I have to check my local Apple Store to see about a sim free 256GB iPhone X!  I guess I like both colors, but everyone said that the Silver(white) is for ladies and the gray is for guys so have to go with the gray, to keep with the gender roles on color!  I did see a couple of guys having white iPhones. ??!
    edited December 2017
  • Reply 7 of 17
    I look forward to the day when Apple sells ONLY phones that can work on any of the major carriers -- CDMA or GSM.

    The term "unlocked" has become very confusing to most people.  When they bought their, say, AT&T phone it was "locked" to that carrier.  At the end of the two years, AT&T could unlock their phone.  But, it STILL would not work on a Verizon network.

    My experience is that most non-geek people have no idea that they are restricted in which carriers they can use depending on whether they have a phone with a CDMA or a GSM modem.  So, they pop into their local AT&T store and buy a GSM only phone thinking that all iPhones are the same regardless of where they are purchased.  Actually, few people even know that their phone has a modem.  The older ones think that is a little black box that made funny StarTrek type noises as it connected to AOL and the younger ones say:  "What's a 'mod-em'?"
  • Reply 8 of 17
    Won't it be a moot point in a couple years as CDMA networks are going away in the US?  
  • Reply 9 of 17
    I look forward to the day when Apple sells ONLY phones that can work on any of the major carriers -- CDMA or GSM.

    The term "unlocked" has become very confusing to most people.  When they bought their, say, AT&T phone it was "locked" to that carrier.  At the end of the two years, AT&T could unlock their phone.  But, it STILL would not work on a Verizon network.

    My experience is that most non-geek people have no idea that they are restricted in which carriers they can use depending on whether they have a phone with a CDMA or a GSM modem.  So, they pop into their local AT&T store and buy a GSM only phone thinking that all iPhones are the same regardless of where they are purchased.  Actually, few people even know that their phone has a modem.  The older ones think that is a little black box that made funny StarTrek type noises as it connected to AOL and the younger ones say:  "What's a 'mod-em'?"
    I'm sure you're right.  And the fact majority of non-geek people are never going to switch carriers--and if they do it would be with the purchase of new phone, so they are ok being blissfully ignorant.

    BTW, I always thought "modem" as in "modulator-demodulator" referred to the process of switching between digital signal and analog audio for transmission over phone lines.  In that sense, do modern all-digital phones actually have modems?
  • Reply 10 of 17
    jvmbjvmb Posts: 52member
    It is actually more complicated now with LTE bands. Before you just needed to know gsm or cdma, now you need the right LTE band. T- mobile bought a lot of spectrum in band 71. The iPhone X does not support that band.  In two years you probably don’t want to have an iPhone X on T-mobile as new phone with band 71 will work a lot better. And if you have a phone today without band 12, your t-mobile reception will be terrible. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 17
    jvmb said:
    It is actually more complicated now with LTE bands. Before you just needed to know gsm or cdma, now you need the right LTE band. T- mobile bought a lot of spectrum in band 71. The iPhone X does not support that band.  In two years you probably don’t want to have an iPhone X on T-mobile as new phone with band 71 will work a lot better. And if you have a phone today without band 12, your t-mobile reception will be terrible. 
    That sounds bad.  I don't suppose this would be firmware fixable?
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Looks like you can get the X SIM free today (any capacity) at stores in the D.C. area......
  • Reply 13 of 17
    The unlocked/sim free iPhone X is the same model A1865 sold for all US carriers except AT&T and T-Mobile which sell the model A1901 which doesn’t have CDMA. 

    The main reason for delaying the release of the sim free version is to stop people from buying the phones just to resell overseas. 


  • Reply 14 of 17
    dr. xdr. x Posts: 143member
    I have to check my local Apple Store to see about a sim free 256GB iPhone X!  I guess I like both colors, but everyone said that the Silver(white) is for ladies and the gray is for guys so have to go with the gray, to keep with the gender roles on color!  I did see a couple of guys having white iPhones. ??!
    I purchased the white 256GB iPhone X as I've gotten black in the past and wanted to change it up. I'm a normal guy and I think white looks cool.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    could you tie one sim free phone to two carriers simultaneously? so say verizon and AT&T?
  • Reply 16 of 17
    could you tie one sim free phone to two carriers simultaneously? so say verizon and AT&T?
    Interesting question. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA and have to be provisioned by the carrier to work on their systems. All of the iPhones are GSM which means that you should be able to pop in any GSM sim, reboot, and be up and running most anywhere in the world, but not simultaneously. 

    I don’t know which carriers actually lock their phones anymore. Verizon does not lock their phones. 


  • Reply 17 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 1,995member
    This whole area is a mess.  
    As we leave the era of getting a "free" phone locked to a carrier every two years, it will either get fixed -- where the phones aren't  tied to carriers or bands, or it will just get worse...
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