A lot of iPhone 5 hopefuls got their due today, when Apple's latest handset dropped on the masses. (Well, at least if you weren't one of the poor slobs whose third-party retail pre-order got thwarted.)

What may come as a surprise, at least for savvy Verizon subscribers, is that this shiny new device also does a neat little trick: Apparently, this version of the phone also works on AT&T. That's right, it looks like the Verizon version of the 5 ships GSM unlocked.

Full credit for this discovery goes to iDownloadBlog, which chopped down an AT&T Micro SIM card and shoved it into the smartphone with a piece of tape and a paperclip. After a moment or two the handset found the AT&T HSPA+ network (indicated by "AT&T 4G" in the upper left corner), and then writer/vlogger Jeff Benjamin hit up Speedtest.net to check out the connection speed. The video proof is in the pudding, so to check it out for yourself, hit play on the clip below.

Benjamin ultimately contacted Verizon, and it confirmed that this is no fluke — the carrier is indeed offering unlocked iPhones from Day One.

Note: This doesn't mean that all versions are cross compatible — indeed, there are three variations to accommodate different LTE networks worldwide. So don't take this as a sign that you can just pick up one handset and use it everywhere on any network. Still, that a major U.S. carrier is offering iPhones unlocked from the get-go is a pretty noteworthy event, one that hopefully marks the beginning of a trend.

[Via iDownloadBlog]