The unlocked iPhone 4S will be available in the U.S. in November of 2011; unlocked iPhone 4's just went on sale in June of 2011.
This morning, Apple's website was bombarded with preorders for the iPhone 4S. Possibly to help reduce traffic and make consumers think twice, Apple quietly added to their website today that if you wait until November you can get yourself an unlocked, contract free iPhone that will work on any GSM carrier.
As noted above, from Apple's website, the unlocked iPhone will work on any GSM network, such as AT&T in the U.S., but will not work with any CDMA networks such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint. This means that the iPhone 4S *can* be brought over to T-Mobile even though Apple made no mention of their name on their website. Unfortunately, you will be bolted down to 2G (Edge) speeds. When traveling abroad, swapping your micro SIM may be necessary; you can get together with the local GSM carrier of the place you are staying to obtain one.
Although, in a few other countries the unlocked iPhone 4S has already been put up for preorder. People living in the U.K. can preorder themselves an iPhone 4S: 499 pounds for 16GB models, 599 pounds for 32GB models, and 699 pounds for 64GB models, respectively. Anyone in Germany and France can also preorder themselves an iPhone 4S for the cost of cost 629 euros for 16GB models, 739 euros for 32GB models, and 849 euros for 64GB models, respectively. For pricing in the U.S., you can find that in the screenshot above if you didn't see it already. Also note that the contract-bound iPhone 4S will be available in stores on October 14th for the usual iPhone pricing ($199/16GB, $299/32GB, $399/64GB).
Apple is warning its customers that a credit check maybe be needed to get an unlocked iPhone 4S in November and that the buyer must be at least 18 years of age. They're also suggesting their Applecare+ plan which offers up to two accidental repairs.
Apple's website appears to be mobbed with preorders because the iPhone 4S preorder part of the website has been clicking on and off all morning; a likely side effect of high traffic.
Reports from Macstories also suggest that AT&T's website is suffering the same results; they offer this advice:
Originally Posted by Macstories
Sources: CNET, Macstories