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iPhone 3G Finally Available In US Contract-Free 265

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the long-time-coming dept.
Engadget is reporting that the iPhone 3G is finally available contract-free if you are willing to pay a much higher premium. Without a contract consumers are looking at $599 for an 8GB model and $699 for the 16GB. AT&T has the added restriction that you must be an existing AT&T customer, but Apple (retail stores only, sorry) will sell one to anyone willing to pay the premium. This change brings the model much closer to the prevailing European model where phones are sold as hardware and the plans are handled completely separately.
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iPhone 3G Finally Available In US Contract-Free

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  • by Feminist-Mom (816033) <feminist,mom&gmail,com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @11:50AM (#27359393)
    I'm not sure, but there is almost always someone in the US who will sell you something where you make monthly payments. Of course, there usually is an unreasonable interest rate.
  • by Nursie (632944) on Friday March 27, 2009 @11:56AM (#27359487)

    The UK must not be in Europe then.

    In the UK the phone is "free" (or not) and then you get contracts that provide you with minutes/texts that do cover the cost of the phone, but it's still hidden.

    Most phones are available without a contract if you want to pay that much, and you can get contracts without phones that are considerably cheaper. But it's not necessarily the most economical way of doing it.

    No, the UK way is to have the phone covered by the contract but the contract only lasts a single year, after which the companies are obliged to SIM Unlock the phone for a nominal fee.

    Or of course just to use pay as you go, if that's your thing.

  • Re:Okay... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:01PM (#27359569)

    It is still locked to AT&T - so this sounds to me like one more attempt to fool the masses.

    Seriously, who would want to buy a $599 *phone* that only works with one carrier when you can buy the same fxxking phone for $199 when in both cases you have to pay AT&T monthly fees just to use it.

    WTF? Some one please explain how this all makes sense.

  • Re:So it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:02PM (#27359585) Homepage Journal
    I"m wondering when the NEW iPhone will come out? Still rumored to be in June?

    I wonder how much that will be.

    Or, are they maybe trying to sell the current phones they have on stock out now, and this is a ploy to sell them faster?

  • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:03PM (#27359595)

    Unfortunately, you pay "full" price, but the phone is still locked to AT&T. Dumb move in my mind, but maybe that is what we will end up seeing in another month.

  • Pointless... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nweaver (113078) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:04PM (#27359613) Homepage

    Its cheaper to buy the phone and break the contract if you want a "no contract" iPhone, as its only $400 or so that way.

  • by iluvcapra (782887) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:07PM (#27359665)

    Much lower screen rez, 240x440 versus 320x480. Also, the screen isn't multitouch and I've seen many phones with a Flash UI, and they're all uniformly miserable. No app store...

    Honestly, it looks more like they were trying to rip off the Storm than the iPhone.

  • Worth it? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:09PM (#27359697)

    I don't understand how they can charge so much for these when I can get an ipod touch for $200. iPod Touch + Blackberry curve is a winning combination. Better email/messaging experience on the BB and web browsing for emergencies. If I'm in a hotspot I use the itouch. Plus the touch is much sleeker and nicer than the iphone, with a more powerful processor.

    I just don't get it. This is terribly overpriced, just for the addition of a cell radio?

  • by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:14PM (#27359809)

    Yes, the cost is subsidized over the length of the contract but that's an excuse for a locked phone, not a reason.

    If you sign a contract to pay $40 per month for 2 years and walk away with a free phone, it don't matter if you use it or not, or switch provider or not.....you STILL have to pay the $40 per month you agreed to, with all the usual debt collection / court hassles for defaulting.

    If you switch carriers and set up a separate contract with a separate sim card you need to pay for that in ADDITION to the contract you signed. Not only that, but your $40 per month contract would include free minutes / SMS as part of the deal which you wouldn't use. The propaganda they use would have you believe that if you switched the sim card and started using another carrier the contract you signed would be void and they wouldn't get paid. This is bullshit, and they need to be called on it.

    The only reasons I can think that you'd want to pay for both at the same time is if you either object morally to the contract company (in this case AT&T, or Apple's iPhone partner in the UK O2) or if you don't get a strong enough reception from them. You may have a long term deal through your employer, or even a number you've been using for a long time that all your contacts know....why should you be forced to change? Yes you can often bring your old number to the new phone but it's not the point.

    Locking you in is inexcusable. An unlocked phone would mean they have to actually compete to keep you. The point here is that a locked phone to enforce at least the cost of the phone on a contract is a red herring. It's even more of an insult to have a pre-pay phone locked to a carrier.

    Personally I live in an area where O2 is the only constant strong reception, so my carrier is dictated by signal strength. I refuse to buy any locked phone, even if it is locked to O2.

    Mobile phones should ALL be unlocked, sold as phones on their own at full price, or with a contract with the provider of your choice, with a selection of deals / prices / free stuff on offer, with an optional cheaper rate per month by buying the phone at the start or a subsidy at a higher rate per month. This is not rocket science.

  • by Timberwolf0122 (872207) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:14PM (#27359811) Journal
    Come on apple we all know it's just a freaking HCSD card in there and they do not cost that much.
  • Re:So it's true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quangdog (1002624) <quangdog@@@gmail...com> on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:27PM (#27360027)
    See, AT&T (and many other carriers) count on the fact that most of the general public has difficulty doing simple arithmetic. When most people are standing in the store holding the shiny new phone, they just can't (or don't care to) add.

    --Kimball
    http://www.incredicode.com/velocity.html [incredicode.com]
  • Re:So it's true (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:30PM (#27360079)
    Because that phone will still be SIM-locked to AT&T?
  • Re:Okay... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Samschnooks (1415697) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:31PM (#27360109)

    It is still locked to AT&T - so this sounds to me like one more attempt to fool the masses.

    Seriously, who would want to buy a $599 *phone* that only works with one carrier when you can buy the same fxxking phone for $199 when in both cases you have to pay AT&T monthly fees just to use it.

    WTF? Some one please explain how this all makes sense.

    You're not locked into a contract. So when, not if, AT&T treats you like shit, you can leave.

    But I agree with you, you're stuck either way if you really are married to the idea of using the iPhone.

  • I know Belgium isn't a very big country, but do you really think that the people in your office constitute a statistical sample?

  • by akozakie (633875) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:35PM (#27360177)

    O-kay... Now WHY is parent modded as funny? Fanboy mods probably think that any comment suggesting that some product is better than iPhone must be tongue-in-cheek (with the possible exception of Android).

    Just like iPod never was the perfect MP3 player, iPhone is not and never will be the perfect phone. Sure, for many users, including a couple of my friends, the iPhone is great and nothing comes close, but "many" isn't the same as "all".

    I played a bit with the iPhone. It's fun. It's well designed. It's not for me. I definitely wouldn't exchange my Nokia E61i for it, and that's an old phone now, better ones are available. If I had a choice - get iPhone for free or buy E61, E71, or something like that - I'd reach for my wallet. For me it's far more functional.

    For example - I don't really like touchscreen interfaces, especially with small (<10") screens, multitouch doesn't change this. Typing an SMS or working with SSH is so much faster on a full qwerty keyboard, after you get used to it you can actually touch-type with your thumbs.

    Still, I read articles in newspapers and feel that I'm expected to want an iPhone. Even here on /. it's the same thing - it seems that I should want one. So many interesting designs on the market, but only iPhone and Android seem to get any attention.

    So, the parent was right in both the title and the comment. The iPhone is not for everyone and it is a bit irritating to see it mentioned everywhere and get weird looks from iPhone owners when they show it to you and you say "It's nice, but I prefer something else".

    Unless of course I missed the joke?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:37PM (#27360243)

    I got a 16gig iPod Touch for $300. Does it really cost another $400 to add the cellphone components, camera, and mic? Really?? I have my doubts.

  • Re:So it's true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:41PM (#27360317) Homepage Journal
    "I don't know why they are so quick to push out new iPhones. "

    Well, this new iPhone hardware is rumored to have much greater processing power, larger memory (32G?), and I think about double the network speed of the current 3G phone.

    And upgrading hardware on about any tech gadget these days, is common....annual upgrades are pretty much the norm, lest you get stale and lose customers to the next..

    ....OOH...Shiny!! I want one of th.....

  • by jasonthedce (1412671) on Friday March 27, 2009 @12:49PM (#27360455) Homepage
    A line-item for the phone would be a great feature for us in the U.S. Currently, your phone is "subsidized" by the lock-in to the contract. Theoretically, this means that after the initial 2-year lock-in, your monthly price should go down as they aren't subsidizing the phone anymore. In reality, of course, the price stays the same and they keep the difference as added profit. Or, you can take your existing phone into another contract and have your already paid-for phone subsidized again.
  • by Wellington Grey (942717) on Friday March 27, 2009 @01:14PM (#27360837) Homepage Journal

    The UK must not be in Europe then.

    Ask any British person, and they'll tell you it isn't.

  • Re:So it's true (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @01:15PM (#27360855)

    Given the amount of fine print on a cellphone contract, I can't blame them for not taking your word for it.

  • by Fahrvergnuugen (700293) on Friday March 27, 2009 @01:38PM (#27361287) Homepage
    He was modded funny because the Samsung F700 is a joke compared to the iPhone.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 27, 2009 @02:28PM (#27362145)
    I definitely trust a site called "Appleinsider" for unbiased, trustworthy information regarding Apple.

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