Unlocked iPhone 7 units are now available to U.S. customers as of Friday, with base pricing set at $649 for the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and $769 for the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.
While contracts are a good way for cash-strapped customers to get the phone they want right away, they can also get onerous really fast. For 24 months, you’re tied down to the same carrier, regardless of the quality of service, and forced to pay a fixed monthly fee, plus any surcharges for going over your limits. And should you choose to get out of that contract before it’s done, early termination fees can, and will apply. As such, many consumers would rather pay for their device upfront, never mind the significant dent on their budget, just as long as they don’t have to be stuck to restrictive contracts.
Fortunately, both the unlocked iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are now selling in America, allowing buyers to own one of Apple’s 2016 flagship phones without any contractual obligations. If you’re interested in this SIM-free option, which can be used on any carrier’s network, you can go to Apple’s online storefront and use the configurator to choose which size iPhone you want. After that, select “SIM-free” instead of selecting a carrier, and you’re off.
— Highsnobiety (@highsnobiety) October 14, 2016
Due to incredible demand for most iPhone 7 variants, shipping may take a while for a lot of buyers. According to Mashable, the SIM-free, unlocked iPhone 7 will ship quickly enough for most color options, and should arrive in one-to-three business days. Those who prefer the Jet Black flavor, however, will have to wait it out for about three-to-five weeks. As for the iPhone 7 Plus, most color choices take three-to-four weeks to arrive, with the Jet Black version especially backordered and having an estimated shipping time of six-to-eight weeks.
But what if you really, really would want an on-contract or unlocked iPhone 7 in Jet Black, or no iPhone at all? There are indeed a lot of customers who consider color as one of their key selling points when shopping for new phones, and it does seem as if the all-new Jet Black style has attracted quite a lot of attention from potential buyers. However, a separate report from MacRumors suggests that the new color is “at least temporarily” available at several Apple retail stores in the U.S., with the model in question being the larger and rarer iPhone 7 Plus.
Basing its information on an iStockNow spot check, MacRumors reported Friday that the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus variant has some availability in a number of states, and can also be found in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Houston, and a few other major cities.
— Mehdi Shibahara (@MehdiShibahara) October 5, 2016
The publication also explained the reason why the Jet Black iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have been especially hard to come about in the first few weeks since the devices’ September release, citing well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
“Jet Black iPhones have faced a global shortage as the new high-gloss finish has proven challenging to manufacture. The models suffer from a low casing production yield rate of 60 to 70 percent, meaning that 30 to 40 percent of units do not pass Apple’s quality standards and must be reworked.”
There’s no telling how long the Jet Black color will be available in stores, or when the production yield issues for the color option will be sorted out. But for the meantime, the good news is that the unlocked iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are finally out for U.S. buyers, and that on- and off-contract Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus units are now easier to find in physical stores.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]