Sorry if this has been discussed before. It used to be that (I'm talking from a UK perspective) we'd either: 1) Sign a 12 or 18-month contract with a service provider (Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile etc) and get a highly subsidised phone. The phone would almost always be SIM locked to the provider, have carrier logos and awful carrier-specific (sometimes crippled) software/firmware. 2) Buy an unlocked, unsubsidised phone and choose any contract with any provider (or use it with a non-contract SIM - 'Pay as you go'). With the iPhone Apple (and it's partners) gave us a third option: 3) A locked, unsubsidised phone only useable with an 18 or 24-month contract. Branding and crippling aside, this seems like the worst of both worlds (you have to have a contract but there's no handset subsidy to sweeten the deal) but I'm wondering if there isn't an upside too. Specifically, I'm wondering how upgrades will work. Let's say I buy an iPhone in the UK on November the 9th but then at some point before my 18-month contract with O2 expires Apple produce a much better, updated version (3G, more storage, GPS, whatever). Question is, will I just be able to nip along to the local Apple/O2/CPW shop, buy the new phone, take it home, swap the SIM in from my old iPhone, connect up to iTunes and be good to go - i.e no new contract need be signed? What brought this to mind was reading this thread started by Jade Cambell: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=364313 Jade mentions that replacing a defective phone involves just that: take it home, swap the SIM connect to iTunes and iTunes asks 'do you want to replace the old phone with the new one on the same line?' I guess it's doubtful if anyone here will have a definitive answer to this, but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. It seems to me this way of upgrading would be good for all concerned: I get the latest and greatest iPhone, Apple get to sell me a second phone during the contract period and O2 get a customer that's highly likely to extend his contract beyond the original end date (because that's the only way for me to keep using my new all-singing, all-dancing iPhone).