Unlocked model in Apple Retail?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by GadgetGav, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. GadgetGav macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #1
    Does anyone here know what the typical availability of full-price, unlocked phones is like in physical Apple Retail stores?
    I don't want to go and stand in line if they don't generally have them at the store on launch day, but equally I don't want to get up at 3am to order one online and wait for it to be delivered if I could just walk into a store and get one.
     
  2. orangebluedevil macrumors 6502

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    Jun 28, 2010
    #2
    Good question, I need to know also. First of all, can you even buy full-price unlocked phones at Apple on launch day? (I can see a scenario where they'd only allow upgrades)
     
  3. aneftp macrumors 68040

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    Jul 28, 2007
    #3
    If you are in the USA, just buy a full price "verizon" iPhone 5S/5C.

    That's all you need to do. Verizon iPhone 5S/5C have universal LTE bands for Tmobile/ATT/Verizon.
     
  4. GadgetGav thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #4
    Hmm... that adds to the confusion!
    According to the Apple site, the unlocked phone is Model A1533 but in the tech specs there's a GSM version and a CDMA version. I don't care about CDMA, but if you're right that the Verizon model is the A1533 CDMA and will be unlocked for GSM from day 1, that could be the most universal. The 'standard' unlocked choice on the Apple site is the T-Mobile / GSM one and that would be fine as far as I'm concerned, but if I could get a universal one, why not..?

    Why do they even make the other models if A1533 CDMA will do everything?

    Weren't the previous unlocked Verizon CDMA ones unable to use AT&T LTE..? Was that a frequency band limitation or a software lock out?

    ----------

    And according to Apple's LTE page, there's a different model (A1457) for LTE in France, Germany and the UK even though the bands used there are present in the US CDMA and GSM models.

    Why is there no world phone?? Maybe the online unlocking services will enable European LTE on a US phone? Is it just carrier settings? :confused:
     
  5. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
  6. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #6
    But the 5C is selling unlocked right now? (preorder) and there is a button to buy unlocked (with t-mobile SIM) for the 5S on the sales page that twill go live on Friday.

    If they do not sell unlocked ones, can you just go and get a full price "At&t" phone at the Apple store?

    Instead of doing the upgrade, can you pay full price? Or they only sell upgrades on day one?
     
  7. allonwang macrumors newbie

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    Sep 17, 2013
    #7
    Anything that is CDMA is going to be locked forever. Don't even pay attention to CDMA. The CDMA ones do have GSM, but that's only to be used by asking a carrier.

    There may be allure to having a CDMA/GSM iPhone, but CDMA runs your battery down so quick it's not funny. CDMA is not worth it.
     
  8. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2009
    #8
    The 5C is the new budget phone. There was no new budget model last year.

    The button for the 5S Unlocked currently says "currently unavailable", just like the regular upgrade 5S says "currently unavailable". Saying anything more than this is just guessing.

    If you pay full price with a carrier, it will still be locked. You are paying for the privilege of getting a new device. You may be able to ask your carrier, but this has nothing to do with Apple or purchasing.

    Again, I'm not saying it is or isn't. I'm just reiterating what happened in previous years.
     
  9. GadgetGav thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #9
    This time around, the unlocked phone is the same as the T-Mobile one. That's the only way to buy a T-Mo one through Apple, so unless they're holding back that carrier, I think it will go on sale at the same time. The 5C seems to be rolling out across all (US) carriers at the same time.
     
  10. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #10
    The three times that I've contacted Apple regarding the placeholder for the Unlocked (with T-mobile) SIM on sale on day one, they've told me the same answer that it will be available online and in store. Hopefully this is correct.
     
  11. GadgetGav thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #11
    From a T-Mobile press release:
    "BELLEVUE, Wash. – September 12, 2013 -T-Mobile US, Inc. (NYSE: TMUS) today announced it will offer iPhone 5s, the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, and iPhone 5c, the most colorful iPhone yet, beginning Friday, September 20."

    They weren't selling iPhones when the iPhone 5 came out - they only started in April this year.


    So, I suppose the question is what's the availability of T-Mobile phones on launch day as a full price T-Mo model is the unlocked one...
     
  12. Trauma1 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    That's a T-Mobile press release. Aren't you asking about about the Apple retail store?
     
  13. NikFinn macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

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    MA
    #13
    This simply isn't true. See this post that goes over all of the bands/differences.
     
  14. Yoonoo macrumors newbie

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    Dec 5, 2011
    #14
    This was not the case with the last two iPhones that I got. If you buy an AT&T iPhone at full-price from an Apple store, it's automatically unlocked when you sync with iTunes. The phone can then be used with any GSM carrier like T-Mobile.

    This makes sense as carriers cannot expect to keep the phones locked when customers pay the unsubsidized price.
     
  15. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #15
    That makes sense, why and how At&t will keep you locked if they are not giving you an upgrade, you are paying the phone out of pocket full price. Interesting.
     
  16. CEmajr macrumors 601

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    Charlotte, NC
    #16
    If you want an unlocked iPhone 5S on launch day in the US you have two choices.

    Buy the Verizon model full price
    Buy the Unlocked T-Mobile one full price (only sold in Apple stores, the ones in T-Mobile stores are locked).
     
  17. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #17
    And that is why they may have Unlocked phones on first day, just with a "T-mobile" SIM as we can read in the sales page.

    This is the first time that Apple will be selling T-mobile phones from Apple online and in Stores correct?

    ----------

    yes correct but the questions is, are they going to sell the T-mobile unlocked one (I'll use on At&t until plan is up) on day one? Are they going to be available in store and online? Apple customer support is telling "yes" but usually they do not know until last minute.
     
  18. GadgetGav thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #18
    Nothing about the US cell phone pricing model makes much sense..!

    For example, if I get to the end of my 2-year contract with AT&T and don't upgrade, why doesn't my monthly fee drop by the ~$19 that I've been paying to cover the subsidy? ($649 - $199 / 24)
    Why is there no SIM-only price that's cheaper than buying a new device & 2 year contract if I've got an unlocked device that I want to bring to AT&T from somewhere else?

    I haven't been able to find either of these, so they base their whole business model on you upgrading for a new subsidized phone every two years - that's why they offer "early upgrade" to make sure to lock you in when you're getting near the end.

    That's all a bit off topic, but just to say that we probably shouldn't be trying to apply logic to cell phone carrier policies. :)

    ----------

    Yes, but that was to point out that T-Mobile will have the 5s from launch day.
     
  19. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #19


    That is exactly my question too and one that makes me think about buying unlocked, after all they are going to charge me the $19 subsidy fee. But I do not want to do a new contract with them either.
     
  20. GadgetGav thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #20
    Yes, this is the first time T-Mobile has been a carrier at the launch of a phone model.
    So yes, we're back around full circle... What is the availability of the unlocked (or T-Mobile) phone in the retail stores on day 1. I guess the short answer is no-one knows because this is the first time it's been possible.

    Maybe I'll just set an early alarm and order it online. At least if that doesn't work for some reason I have the option of plan B - standing in line at a store.
     
  21. iosuser macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 12, 2012
    #21
    That was not the case when I bought my iPhone 5 from the Apple store at full price last year, before the official unlocked version became available. I had to call AT&T and submit my sales receipt showing that I paid full price, then AT&T agreed to unlock it.

    For the 5S the Tmobile version sold at the Apple store is the unlocked version.
     
  22. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #22
    Yes I guess that is the option, 3:01AM order online, if something goes wrong that is a good time to start heading to your Apple store to secure a spot.
     
  23. NikFinn macrumors 6502a

    NikFinn

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    Jun 22, 2009
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    MA
    #23
    Interesting, as I bought my AT&T iPhone 5 (32GB, Black) at full retail from an Apple Store on launch day and saw the 'Congratulations your phone has been unlocked' message as soon as I synced with iTunes.
     
  24. GadgetGav thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2010
    #24
    Thanks! That's a useful post.
     
  25. curtoise macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 19, 2010
    #25
    That sounds good too, if it is as easy as going to the corporate store and show that you've paid in full for the phone, then they should be able to unlock that for you even in middle of contract?

    ----------

    Do you need to sync to iTunes?? I'm not doing that in ages, I always setup from iCloud or new phone.
     

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