Apple iPhone 4S pre-orders have started in the US and Canada, unlocked or with contract

Right on time, pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone 4S have started earlier today. This is in fact what Apple announced would happen when it held its event in which the newest iPhone was unveiled.

So here are the details. In either the US or Canada, you have the choice of either purchasing an unlocked iPhone 4S, or getting it with a long-term contract from a carrier (in which case you’ll pay less upfront since the price of the phone will be subsidized by said carrier).

If you’re interested in purchasing an unlocked iPhone, Apple.com is your friend in the US. You can go here to reach the pre-order page directly, and prices start at $649. For that amount of cash, you’ll get the 16 GB version. The 32 GB iPhone 4S costs $749, and the 64 GB variant goes for no less than $849. It appears that the unlocked iPhones won’t be usable on either Verizon or Sprint in the US, so you’re pretty much stuck with AT&T. Why? Well, because, while the iPhone 4S that Apple sells unlocked does have quad-band HSPA, T-Mobile’s 1700 (AWS) band is missing. Which means that you can use it on TMo, but only at EDGE mobile data speeds. Which in this day and age is anything but nice.

The upside though is that because it has the 900 and 2100 HSPA bands you’ll be able to use this iPhone 4S worldwide on 2G, 3G, and “4G” speeds (not LTE though, mind) without a problem.

If you want to get the iPhone 4S with a contract, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint couldn’t be happier. The prices are (as expected) the same on all three carriers. You’ll have to shell out $199.99 for the 16 GB iPhone 4S, $299.99 for the version with 32 GB of built-in storage, and $399.99 for 64 GB.

In all cases you’ll need to sign a new two-year contract and purchase a data plan. Keep in mind though that Sprint offers unlimited data for the iPhone, as we previously told you it would.

If you’re in Canada, Apple.ca will serve your need for an unlocked iPhone 4S. Prices are the same as in the US (well, the same numbers, since it’s obviously Canadian dollars we’re talking about here), and the phone seems to be literally the same SKU. So make sure your carrier is operating a GSM-based network and it has one or more of the 850/900/1900/2100 bands for 3G and “4G” (HSPA) if you want to actually use your new toy to the fullest.

If you’d rather commit to a long-term relationship with a carrier, Telus, Bell, and Virgin Mobile will gladly oblige. Prices are almost identical across the board. You’ll have to shell out $159 for the 16 GB version, $259 for the 32 GB variant, and $359 for 64 GB. Oh, and this being Canada, the contract you’ll need to sign to get those prices will last for three years.

The iPhone 4S is expected to start shipping in North America from the aforementioned carriers on October 14, which is next Friday. The unlocked versions will become available sometime during next month.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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