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AT&T Offers Contract-free, "No-Commit" iPhones

After the Paddy’s Day preview of iPhone OS 3.0, people have been searching for more and more clues if the new OS means a new iPhone. Everyone is saying June because, let's be honest, when Apple gets into a groove with releases for a certain line, they tend to stick to the same sort of dates (iPods are usually September, for example).

That said, the last few days I’d had that sort of sinking feeling that my iPhone anticipation was going to be turned on it’s head. I’d just decided I wanted one and was certain there’d be a new one in June. That said, the last few days I wasn’t so sure. Maybe it was the Patrick’s Day hangover talking but all that certainty was making me, well, uncertain.

Until this morning that is. We’d heard rumors that the British iPhone carrier, O2 was going to be offering the iPhone 3G for free. Not thinking much of it (European carriers seem to have better deals than the U.S. anyway, right?), I figured it was just a ploy to shift some units fast and get people moving from T-Mobile and Orange to O2. Today reports have emerged saying something similar about the American carrier, AT&T.

Boy Genius Report claims, citing internal AT&T memos, that the mobile phone provider is planning on offering a non-commit iPhone for the price of $599 (8GB) or $699 (16GB) as of March 26. Granted, the recession right now means not a lot of people have six or seven hundred dollars lying around to buy an off-contract iPhone but it’s definitely got us all riled up for some new hardware.

Excitement aside, it's time for the catch (of course there's a catch it's AT&T and Apple). The offer is only available to existing AT&T customers and there's only one no-commit iPhone per customer. Sniff. Check out BGR for the full scoop.

Without further ado, your wish lists for the new iPhone hardware, please! What do you want to see? We want a faster CPU, a front facing camera and improved battery life. Leave your thoughts below!

  • hillarymakesmecry
    TH is desperate for comments.

    I'd like to be able to buy it for $600 and cut the plan cost. ATT recovers at least $20 a month from their $70 a month contract to cover the cost of the phone.

    If I pay $600 why can't I just pay $50 a month because I'm paying up front. It only seems fair. Att doesn't have to recover any costs so it's a rip off to pay the same rate. They make an extra $20 each and every month.
  • JMcEntegart
    @hillarymakesmercy: Not sure what you mean! I just like to interact with the readers/commenters. I think it makes for interesting discussion. :)
  • Square_Head
    Those prices are outrageous if you ask me. The iPod touch is only $230 for the 8GB model. The phone doesn't have that many more expensive components so for the sake of argument, call them the same thing. You mean to tell me that for $370 more I can get the phone. Someone is really taking a steep markup.

    And the iPhone still requires a monthly service contract so ATT is still making money on the plan. If the prices were $400 and $500 it would be more reasonable.
  • $400 or $500 reasonable??? Let's be honest here. Is there really a need for a PHONE to be more than $100??? I am currently on AT&T (and hate every second of it but forced to stay because of contract) and I can pick up a refurb for $99. That is truely what these phones should be priced at. That goes for all of them. All these stupid phones have become status symbols and welcome to the world where idoicracy rules. All the stupid little sheeple run out and buy them while they wonder about how to make the rent payment next week. Grow up people. You want to see a real deal on crap like this??? STOP BUYING IT and sit back for a month or two. It won't take them long to figure it out when the warehouse is full of worthless status symbols that people refuse to purchase at completely inflated prices.
  • Why aren't dummies at AT&T getting it? They should bundle up voice/data and give a good price (say $49/mo, 450mins+unlimited data) to attract more customers. By charging $40 for voice and $30 for data they are just ripping off people..not to mention texting and other apps come at additional cost. So whether they offer iPhones with or without contracts it is irrelevant and is not going to attract new customers.
  • sciggy
    Well obviously they don't don't need to change their pricing scheme seeing as they've sold over 10 million iphones world wide. I don't know the number here in the US, but I'm sure its a huge amount. That is a lot of money that they are making each month on those 2 year contracts.

    That being said, once the OS 3.0 update comes out I will have no real problems with my iphone. Sure it would be nice to have a faster processor to allow for background apps, but I don't feel that it is a necessity. MMS messaging and copy/cut/paste were my real issues with the phone. I've learned how to milk out the longest amount of time with my battery and can go a good 2 days on a single charge. To me that is acceptable and not an issue.
  • hellwig
    My understanding was that Apple wasn't allowing AT&T to subsidize the iPhone, meaning the 2-year contract price you pay for an iPhone 3G is what it costs to manufacture, you aren't getting any deal for signing the AT&T contract. Now AT&T offers to just sell you the phone, but for a $200 mark up? Plus you have to already be an AT&T customer? I'm not sure how this is a good deal for anyone except AT&T, which pockets $200 with each sale.

    I really don't understand why the government overlooks locking phones to networks anyway. I can only imagine the next step is for Apple to lock its computers to the AT&T U-Verse or something stupid like that. You must activate your new MacBook online with a 2-year AT&T internet service plan.

    The things people are willing to do for that stupid Apple logo is amazing to me. And then they complain about how much the phone lacks. "I want this and this and this and this", maybe you shoulda waited till the phone had that stuff before buying.
    "I like my new car, but I wish GM gave it ABS brakes and rain-sensing wipers, hopefully that comes in the next OS release."
  • pocketdrummer
    I'd really like to NOT be forced to have a $30/month text/internet package that I'll never use simply because I chose a phone by Apple.

    Oh wait.... I didn't chose that phone. Freedom.