Since the initial release of the iPhone back in 2007, many users have despised AT&T and wished to defect to T-Mobile. This could be accomplished in a number of different ways. Most of these have been through the use of Sim Unlock workarounds that are generally done through jailbreaking applications.
Well, Apple has changed the game. Instead of needing to go to the Jailbreak community, you can now go directly to Apple for an unlocked phone. Be prepared to pony up a significant amount of money should you wish to go this route. It will cost you $649 for a 16GB unlocked iPhone or $749 for a 32GB unlocked iPhone. This is significantly above the contract price of $199 and $299 respectively.
The latest tidbit is that Apple Stores are now able to unlock AT&T iPhones as well, in addition to selling unlocked iPhones. Apple appears to have their system set up so that if they sell an AT&T iPhone 4 as ‘Device Only,’ they will also be unlocked just as if they were an unlocked device.
This is a definite plus for Apple Stores, should they be low on the unlocked version and have a customer who wants to purchase an unlocked iPhone 4. Despite this ability, I wonder how often this will need to be done given the retail price for the phones. I wonder if this is a prelude to an unlocked iPhone 5 available right at, or very soon after, launch. It would be something I may look into instead of signing another contract with AT&T. It would be killer if it was available on T-mobile 3G frequencies as well.