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Apple on Thursday began taking orders for factory unlocked versions of its latest iPhone 5 through the company's U.S. online store, suggesting that supply of the handset has finally caught up with demand.
Unlocked iPhone 5 units range in price from $649 for the 16GB model to $849 for the highest capacity 64GB version. All unlocked units are seeing ship-by times of one week, identical to Verizon, AT&T and Sprint iterations, while orders are limited to two handsets per customer.
Apple also posted an informational webpage further explaining how the unlocked devices work, saying that users will receive all the features of an iPhone without having to sign onto a wireless contract. Any GSM network in the U.S. is supported, however unlocked iPhones do not support CDMA networks like those run by Verizon and Sprint.
From Apple's informational webpage:
If you donât want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It does not come with a micro-SIM card for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, or a nano-SIM card for iPhone 5, so youâll need to get one from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.
The news follows an earlier report which found brick-and-mortar Apple Stores to be mostly caught up with demand for the popular handset, finally having enough supply to sell walk-in customers the iPhone 5 of their choosing.