Apple announced iPhone 4S earlier this week. It is now available for pre-order in US, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France & Japan and will be available starting Oct 14th. The problem with iPhone 4S in many countries including US, is that Apple ties up the iPhone purchase to a local telecom provider like AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone or O2. The service providers in turn subsidize the price of iPhone 4S by more than half of its actual price. But in turn forcing you to sign a contract (usually 2 years) to use their voice and data plans.

But in some countries like Canada, UK, Hong Kong & Australia, Apple is forced to sell the factory unlocked iPhone 4S. These factory unlocked iPhones are nothing but legally unlocked iPhones which are NOT tied to any one service provider as in US and Japan. You are free to use these factory unlocked iPhone 4S devices with any cellular service provider ANYWHERE in the world, without voiding your Apple warranty.

Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S for Cheap

I had earlier written an article about buying factory unlocked iPhone 4 for a cheap price. There I had mentioned how and why buying legally unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong Apple store is the best and saves you money as well.

iPhone 4S purchased at the Apple Online Store can be activated with any wireless carrier. Simply insert the SIM from your current phone into iPhone 4S and connect to iTunes to complete activation.

Though Apple has not announced the launch of iPhone 4S in Hong Kong, we know that (from our sources) that Hong Kong is among the 70+ countries scheduled to get iPhone 4S by the end of this year. And surprisingly, Canada seems to be the best place to get factory unlocked iPhone 4S for cheap.
Update: Hong Kong is still the cheapest place to get iPhone 4S, as I had not taken into account the sales tax (12-15%) applied at Apple store in Canada & US. Thanks @duak!

Update 2: Apple will begin selling iPhone 4S in Hong Kong from 11.11.11! Pre-orders start from 4th Nov 2011.

Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S Prices

Officially, Apple has announced the prices of iPhone 4S in seven countries alone. Of these seven, Canada, UK, Germany, France & Australia will be getting unlocked iPhone 4S, while US & Japan will be getting the carrier locked versions. Though we don’t know the prices of unlocked iPhone 4S in countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand etc, it is very obvious that Apple will ensure that the prices of the newer models are just the same as the older ones.

Going by that logic, the expected prices (now confirmed prices) of factory unlocked iPhone 4S in Hong Kong will be-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 5,088 i.e USD 655 (or 477 Euro) *no taxes*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 5,888 i.e USD 758 (or 550 Euro) *no taxes*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): HK$ 6,688 i.e USD 861 (or 623 Euro) *no taxes*

Mind you, there are no sales taxes (or VAT/duties) in Hong Kong! And hence these prices are slightly better than the official prices announced for unlocked iPhone 4S in Canada-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): $649 + taxes i.e USD 627 + taxes (or 467 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): $749 + taxes i.e USD 725 + taxes (or 539 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): $849 + taxes i.e USD 821 + taxes (or 610 Euro + taxes) *approx*

Singapore, which is scheduled to get iPhone 4S on October 22nd is also a decent option for factory unlocked iPhone 4S-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): S$888 i.e USD 685 + taxes (or 510 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): S$1048 i.e USD 809 + taxes (or 602 Euro + taxes) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): S$1208 i.e USD 932 + taxes (or 694 Euro + taxes) *approx*

The official prices of unlocked iPhone 4S in UK are astonishingly high, considering high VAT and import duties over there –

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): £499 i.e USD 775 (or 577 Euro) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): £599 i.e USD 930 (or 692 Euro) *approx*
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): £699 i.e USD 1086 (or 808 Euro) *approx*

Buy Factory Unlocked iPhone 4S in US

Unlike the previous years, Apple will be releasing factory unlocked iPhone 4S in US as well. Apple had released unlocked iPhone 4 too, but it was months after the official release. The unlocked iPhone 4S will be available in November at these prices-

iPhone 4S – 16GB (factory unlocked): USD 649 + taxes
iPhone 4S – 32GB (factory unlocked): USD 749 + taxes
iPhone 4S – 64GB (factory unlocked): USD 849 + taxes

Though the unlocked iPhone 4S is GSM+CDMA ready, switching networks and operators is not so easy and straightforward. Read this article from Daggle to learn more about the limitation.

Keep a tab on this post for updates as and when official prices of iPhone 4s factory unlocked versions are announced.

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