Earlier today, Apple started selling an unlocked and SIM-free version of the iPhone 5s through its online store. The unlocked device is available in the U.S., compatible with GSM SIM cards, and starts at $649 for the 16GB model—the same price as T-Mobile’s contract-free version.
The biggest reason to buy an unlocked iPhone 5s is the ability to use it around the world. Instead of being tied to a single carrier, the device will work on any GSM network across the globe, though you’ll have to pick up your own SIM card. If you’re in a rush, the T-Mobile version will ship in just 3-5 business days—compared to 1-2 weeks for the unlocked phone—and the “UnCarrier” also offers free data and texting around the world for its U.S. subscribers.
As a quick refresher, the iPhone 5s comes equipped with a 4-inch 1136 x 640-pixel Retina display, an A7 64-bit processor, an M7 motion co-processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, a built-in fingerprint scanner. It runs iOS 7 out of the box and comes in gray, gold and silver models.