Right now, if you’re interested in ordering an iPhone 5 through Apple in the US, you’re stuck getting a phone that’s tied to service from one of Apple’s carrier partners. Is Apple ever going to start selling unlocked handsets directly? While such models aren’t currently advertised, a little searching on the company’s website not only reveals their presence, but offers pricing info, as well.
Searching the Apple Store site for “iPhone 5 factory unlocked” returns results for both the GSM and CDMA versions of the phone, in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities. Regardless of the radio choice, those options are listed for $649, $749, and $849, respectively. Like the on-contract models, these handsets are supposed to be available in three-to-four weeks, but there’s not currently a way to place an order for such units.
This pricing info isn’t exactly new, as you could get the same figures by trying to order the phone through a carrier like AT&T and choosing its no commitment price, but it does suggest that Apple could soon be joining those ranks for such off-contract sales.
One theory suggests that Apple might kick-off these kind of sales once demand for the iPhone 5 begins to come more in line with its ability to produce the hardware.