Unlocked iPhone 4S available in November, only works on GSM networks


It’s interesting that you can’t take your unlocked iPhone 4S over to Sprint or Verizon to enable service, at least explicitly. Also, it appears that you can take your unlocked iPhone 4S over to T-Mobile (Apple says “GSM Networks” but doesn’t mention T-Mobile specifically), but only expect to use the EDGE 2G speeds.  Being unlocked also means swapping out micro SIMs when travelling internationally is possible.

The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.* The unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.

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iPhone 4S with iPhone 4 design, dual-mode capability leaked by iTunes

While we have independently been expecting the new iPhone to feature little exterior differences from the iPhone 4, there still has been some debate over the new iPhone’s design. Today, rumors of a re-design can essentially be put to rest. Inside the latest iTunes beta is a specific mention of the “iPhone 4S.” Along with the new iPhone name of “iPhone 4S” comes an image, and it is of a CDMA iPhone 4.

Unless Apple still has the CDMA iPhone 4 as a placeholder image until the new iPhone is announced, we’re fairly confident that the iPhone 4S will pack the CDMA iPhone design. iTunes only holds two iPhone 4S references: black and white versus the four iPhone 4 references of black/GSM, black/CDMA, white/GSM, and white/CDMA. This may also confirm the rumors of the new iPhone being a dual-mode/CDMA + GSM handset.

iPhone 4S confirmed as N94 (iPhone 4,1) that showed up in Apple’s inventory system:

The new iPhone will likely feature the dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, and eight megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM, Nuance-based speech-to-text Dictation, and the breakthrough Assistant feature based on Apple’s purchase of Siri. Everything you need to know can be read here.

Thanks, Ron!

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Apple’s Sprint-compatible iPad appears ready and waiting for launch

Apple and Sprint have completed work on a version of the iPad for Sprint’s data network. This Sprint compatible iPad appears to be ready for public consumption and will join the family of GSM (AT&T) and Verizon capable Apple tablets before the holidays. With Apple soon launching a Sprint version of the iPhone – which we independently confirmed in June – we suspect that the Sprint iPad will come alongside or soon after that release. The iPhone 5 release is still scheduled for October 7th according to our source (and others), but changes/delays are always possible.

The first week of October date for the new iPhone’s availability fits nicely with our report about AT&T’s major early October changes: data throttling and a new insurance plan for $199 devices.

The Sprint version of the iPad is completely separate from the CDMA Verizon model.  We can’t confirm that this new iPad will run on Sprint’s powerful 4G WiMAX network, but the question begs to be asked: Why would Apple build a new iPad for Sprint and not use the CDMA iPad that Verizon already carries?  A report yesterday from TUAW seemed to imply that a 4G iPad from Sprint would be happening at some point.

What’s perhaps most enticing about the Sprint iPad (besides the possibility of 4G) is that Sprint is a lot more generous with its data plans, perhaps offering iPad users once again a truly unlimited data option.

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Purported iPhone 4S antenna band compared to GSM and CDMA iPhone 4

Here’s something interesting that appeared in our inbox this evening. According to our tipster SulfoDK, the middle iPhone antenna below will be the new ‘iPhone 4S’ antenna band. It appears to simply be the current CDMA antenna with a SIM card tray cut out in a similar spot as the GSM iPhone 4 (and as such could be faked or prototyped fairly easily). With the amount of advertising on these images and the easy in which it could be faked, we are wary.

But the idea works out on some levels and here’s why: If Apple were to build only one ‘iPhone 4S’ for 2011-2012 season, they could sell what is basically the Verizon iPhone 4 with its worldphone Gobi chip and an added SIM tray to every carrier. It would make sense to keep that overall same antenna design since it already works well on Verizon. Earlier cases seem to indicate the same thing.

For clarification below, the frame on top labelled ‘4G’ is the current GSM iPhone 4. They are using ‘4G’ in the AT&T/T-Mobile sense.

Top and bottom views below:

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AT&T to slash international data roaming prices on July 17th

One of the advantages of AT&T’s GSM iPhones (and iPads) is that they  can roam just about anywhere in the world fairly easily.  For that convenience, AT&T charges a hefty – some would say exorbitant – fee (illustrated above, left).

Today, AT&T has announced a significant (2.5-5x) drop in international fees.

You get 2.5 times the data for $25 which is now set at 50MB.  At the high end, you get 4x the data, 800MB, for $200.  And overages used to cost $5/MB(!!); now it is ‘just’ $10/10MB.

It is still far from cheap and smart travelers will continue to pick up a Mifi, unlock and use a local SIM or just stick to Wifi hotspots.  But it is something, right? Read more

Thanks to AT&T's marketing tactics, the next iPhone will be '4G'

…in fact, if Apple turned on the HSPA part of the Gobi 14.4 chips in its Verizon iPad and iPhone, they’d already be 4G, at least according to AT&T.

Chris Ziegler noticed today that AT&T has started calling regular old 14.4Mbps HSPA devices 4G in its latest marketing materials.  Until recently, the pseudo ‘4G’ was reserved for HSPA+ on T-Mobile which tops out at 21Mbps.  However, with the release of the HPalm Veer 4G, HTC Inspire 4G and  Motorola Atrix 4G, AT&T has extended the ‘4G’ down to speeds of  14.4 Mbps, the same speed as those Qualcomm chips that Apple loves.

Most industry watchers expect the next iPhone to run on some version of the Qualcomm chip that the Verizon has which would let it do double radio duty and be operable on all US networks.

As Ziegler notes, AT&T is paving the way to charge extra for the benefit of using the newly branded ‘4G’ which doesn’t sound good to us. Read more