It's now been around two and a half months since the iPhone 5 was first introduced, and Apple has yet to reveal when it will begin offering unlocked versions of its new handset to customers. Anyone that wants to buy one of those models may not have much longer to wait, though, as 9to5Mac has been told by "retail sources" that Apple will begin selling unlocked iPhone 5 units on its online store as soon as 9:00 p.m. tonight. Pricing for the unlocked iPhone 5s is likely to be set at $649, $749 and $849 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, respectively.
For customers that'd prefer a brick and mortar buying experience, unlocked iPhones are said to have begun arriving at Apple retail stores and are expected to go on sale soon, but the exact date isn't yet known. Apple will also reportedly be opening up its Personal Pickup service that allows customers to reserve an iPhone 5 and then pick it up in-store. Interested customers must currently wait until 10:00 p.m. for pickup at a local store the next day, but the program will reportedly be expanded to allow for for reservations to be placed at any time.
Apple has offered unlocked iPhone models in the past, but the unlocked iPhone 5 is taking a tad longer to launch than the unlocked 4S, which was available around a month after the carrier-locked versions hit the streets. While an unlocked iPhone 5 may not appeal to everyone because of its high price, the customers that'd like to use such a device to hop between carriers or go overseas will appreciate an easy way to purchase an iPhone that's unlocked out of the box. Once the unlocked iPhone 5 units do go live on Apple's website, we'll be sure to give you a shout. Have any of you every purchased an unlocked smartphone?