9to5Mac’s generally solid retail sources say that the phone will be made available unlocked beginning around 9 PM PT tonight at the earliest, and that physical stores will have them “soon,” but haven’t received a firm starting date for sales as of yet. The report does claim that unlocked device inventory is already making its way out to retail locations, however, in advance of being put on sale. Finally, their sources also indicate that customers will start being able to reserve devices ahead of time anytime, rather than just after 10 PM, as is the current practice.
Unlocked devices are on the market through Apple in other markets, like the Canadian store. These come SIM-unlocked, meaning you can use them with the carrier and plan of your choice. Customers still have to ensure that the version of the iPhone they pick up is compatible with the network of their choosing. In the U.S., Apple offers two versions of the iPhone, one that works with Sprint and Verizon 4G networks, and one that works with AT&T frequencies. It’s unclear from this report whether both versions will be made available unlocked, but hopefully we’ll find out later this evening.
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