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iPhone 4S Not as Versatile as You'd Think

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While some are griping that the new iPhone 4S isn't as revolutionary as they'd like, the device is undeniably the best in Apple's much-revered line of smartphones. Better processor, better camera, better OS -- an improvement all around. But while it's been billed as a "world phone," the iPhone 4S isn't quite as versatile as the term implies.

Daggle's Danny Sullivan explains, "The [iPhone] FAQ is very clear that if you go AT&T, you're not going to have the CDMA portion activated, which you need for Verizon and Sprint."

Sure enough, the FAQ reads, "If you choose AT&T as your wireless carrier, your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will use only GSM cellular technology for voice and data services, and it can roam internationally on 200 GSM carriers around the world."

In fact, buy the iPhone 4S on contract with any of the supported US networks -- AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint -- and you limit your options. According to the FAQ, you'll be locked into either the GSM or CDMA international networks and never the twain shall meet. Even if your contract expires!

The FAQ reads, "The iPhone model you purchase is subject to your wireless service provider's policies, which may include restrictions on switching service providers and roaming, even after conclusion of any required minimum service contract."

"So, fine," you might say. "I'll just buy my iPhone 4S unlocked."

Hang on. The unlocked iPhone 4S won't be available at launch, and it won't even work for Verizon or Sprint! Apple says unlocked devices will be coming in November, and check out the site's About page for the unlocked iPhone 4S. It reads:

"The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States. The unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint."

So that off-contract iPhone 4S you buy from Verizon for $649, $749, or $849 -- depending on the model -- might be free from a service contract, but will likely come locked.

But, uh, Siri's kinda cool, right?

(See also: Apple's iPhone 4S Is a Childish Joke in Japan and Apple Quashes iPhone 5 Hopes, Unveils iPhone 4S)

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