As was widely expected, it turns out that all the hype and fuss about the iPhone costing $199 was really hiding the key facts: it's only that price if you're buying it in the US, along with a long term contract with high service fees. At first it actually appeared as though the only possible way you could buy the phone was with
one of those contracts. However, AT&T has now admitted that it will indeed sell the phone without a contract
, but the price will be $599. While some unlockers may find that worthwhile, it's probably a bit much for most. Still, this once again highlights how Apple's predictions that it was going to change the economics of the mobile phone industry haven't actually been true. There are plenty of mobile phones out there that you can buy subsidized under a contract, which cost 3x as much without a contract. So, rather than changing the economics of mobile phones, Apple has now completely bought into them. Update
: Of course, as some are realizing it's actually cheaper
to buy the subsidized version and break the contract. The early termination fee is less than the difference here, so you end up doing better that way.