Apple has begun shipping unlocked versions of the iPhone 4 in the United States.
According to PC Mag, the devices can now be obtained without being tied to an AT&T contract, however, not only will they cost an estimated $450 more than they would with the contract but they also have to be used with a supported GSM carrier. In the United States that means either AT&T or T-Mobile, which uses a slower 2G network – so the choices aren’t that great.
Speculation is rife as to the reasons for the unlock. Theories range from efforts to pre-empt monopoly accusations, attempts to take advantage of the gray export market or the more mundane explanation that Apple is looking to sell as many iPhone 4’s as it can ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5 later this year.