Here's a rumor that popped up out of nowhere: reports are circulating that Apple will be releasing an unlocked version of the iPhone 4 in the United States this week.
The rumor stems from Chronic Wire's Twitter feed, which specifies the following GSM models:
Unlocked iPhones headed to Apple Stores for Wednesday: MC603 (16GB, Black) MC604 (16GB, White) MC605 (32GB, Black) MC606 (32GB, White)
CNet News points out that although Chronic Wire has been reportedly seen as a "well-known source" in the past, the site has had some mishits recently - most notably about a refreshed MacBook Air.
Additionally, it's hard to see why Apple (or AT&T) would bother with this right now. It's possible that Apple is trying to clear out stock of the iPhone 4 before it unveils an iPhone 5, which will likely be revealed this fall as it was not at WWDC 2011 earlier this month.
Furthermore, Apple could also be looking towards selling the iPhone in the way it does abroad. The iPhone is typically sold unlocked around the globe via multiple carriers. At the very least, Electronistapoints out that AT&T might be trying to move towards selling to international customers (especially during the travel-heavy summer months) with more enticing prepaid plans for short visits.
There's one big point being missed here though, and that is the price. If the iPhone 4 is sold unlocked (and thus, without a contract), buyers could be looking at very hefty price tags. It is actually already possible to buy the iPhone 4 without a commitment, but the unsubsidized costs are $599 and $699 for the 16GB and 32GB models respectively. If AT&T and Apple are looking to target travelers with an unlocked model, then those prices will have to come down a bit.
If the GSM-version of the iPhone 4 was sold unlocked in the U.S., would you buy it?