back to article 'iPhone 4 to be free' when new iPhones ship

Upon Tuesday's rollout of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, the existing iPhone 4 will be offered for the low, low price of nothing at all when purchased with a presumably two-year contract. That is, if a pricing roundup leaked to MacDailyNews from "a sole source [who] has provided reliable information of Apple’s moves in the past" …


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  1. Annihilator
    Thumb Down


    "Upon Tuesday's rollout of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, the existing iPhone 4 will be offered for the low, low price of nothing at all when purchased with a presumably two-year contract."

    aka "Free! Just promise to spend an exuberant amount for 2 years with a hidden premium that will more than pay for the cost of the phone"

    Spend £42 per month for 2 years on O2 right now and you can get the entry-level iPhone. Why would that change?

    Worst... rumour... ever...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. stuff and nonesense

      "Free! Just promise to spend an exuberant amount for 2 years with a hidden premium that will more than pay for the cost of the phone"

      The contract prices (on O2) are roughly the same for both Android and iPhone for the same minutes, texts and 3G internet access.

      Wait and see what the prices are for the "free" iPhone.

      All the monthly recurring fees contain an element which pays for the phone.

      1. Danny 14


        "The contract prices (on O2) are roughly the same for both Android and iPhone for the same minutes, texts and 3G internet access."

        Not really. You can go to the likes of "" and get a like for like (on say a samsung galaxy S2) for much cheaper than a stock apple contract. Obviously if you walked into an O2 shop you are going to pay RRP. Like most things you can always look around if you like or simply walk into a shop and get fleeced.

  2. Snowy Silver badge

    In the UK

    The iPhone 4 is already "free" if you pick a £40 or more plan with T-Mobile. Most likely others already do this too.

    1. Danny 14


      £40 a month? I had no idea how expensive they really were. Surely it would be better buying an unlocked phone and get a cheaper contract? CAn you buy (legit) unlocked iphones - Ive never bothered with an i<thing> tbh.

  3. Jolyon

    Apple are well positioned

    The cachet of owning one means that they can bump the older models down the price bands to hoover up the cost-sensitive purchasers without having to worry about people not upgrading.

    If an iPhone 3GS was brought down to the price of, say, the Orange San Francisco it'd take an idealogical commitment to stay away from Apple.

    1. thesykes
      Thumb Down

      So, what you're saying is, the only reason people don't buy an iPhone is cost? Sorry, but, that is utter crap. If that were the case, then nobody would be buying Galaxy SII's, Xperia Arcs or any other Android, Blackberry or Windows phone that costs the same as iPhones. Your theory falls down spectacularly, as people do buy them.

      Maybe you haven't considered that some people will never buy an iPhone, not for idealogical commitments, but, simply because they think that iOS looks dated, the iPhone 4 looks like it was designed using Excel autoshapes and they want to do things with phones that Apple simply will not allow.

      1. HipposRule

        Same price?

        My OH got an S2 from O2 for £27ppm with the phone free at the weekend. The iPhone 4 is £42ppm to get it free. Over 2 years I make that £360 more expensive to have an inferior phone.

      2. Frank 2

        Learn to read

        "So, what you're saying is, the only reason people don't buy an iPhone is cost?"

        Where did he say that?

      3. LPF

        You protest too much ...

        If the "the iPhone 4 looks like it was designed using Excel autoshapes" as you say why does the gallaxy ape it then?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If there many dozens of things which are the same shape in what way does #7 have to be regarded as aping the shape of #6?

          This is the classic "Apple invented <insert item invented somewhere else here> and everyone else is a copy-cat" bullshit we've heard from Apple fanatics since the Lisa was released.

          Apple invent very, very little. They have a stunning track-record in making other people's ideas really attractive and polished, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The cachet of owning <an iPhone>"

      FFS, get over yourselves, you Apple worshiping bell-ends!

      1. The Reaper

        I'm guessing you wear corduroy trousers and pop top pink golf shirts?

      2. Jolyon

        @Stike Vomit

        "get over yourselves, you Apple worshiping bell-ends!"

        I don't have an iPhone or any other Apple computer and I have more El Reg downvotes from the tards that do than those that don't - I'd like to think my Apple-worshipping credentials are pretty shoddy.

        But it's mad to deny the fact that they have established a brand that people admire.

        Pull out an iPhone and people will go "Ooh, is that an iPhone?"

        Pull out an Android phone and people will go "Ooh, is that an iPhone?"

        Bar a few geeks no one is going to be impressed by you owning one of the alternatives.

        That this is true doesn't mean the iPhone's better, just more widely desired.

  4. rpjs

    Hmm, what's the point of dual mode?

    In the US, AIUI, the mobilecos here are *either* CDMA or GSM, so what's the point of building both in? Or will Apple be offering them unlocked?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You've been able to buy iphones unlocked from apple for a very long time (ever since they were released?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's certainly not been possible since the beginning to buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple - that's a recent thing (possibly with the introduction of the iPhone 4?). In America, it was always locked to AT&T until recently.

        Dual mode though just makes it cheaper/easier for Apple - no need to have multiple SKUs. It matters less on the east-side of the Atlantic, but in America the two major networks (Verizon and AT&T) use differing and incompatible technologies. The rest of the world relies on the ubiquity of GSM.

    2. Argh

      Some people may be on CDMA in the USA but travel to other countries where there are predominantly GSM based networks.

    3. JaimieV

      Inventory management

      Apple loves to minimise its SKUs. If they've sourced a chip that talks both cheaply, it's a lot easier than handling two similar-bit-indistinguishable product trees and the support annoyances that go with that.

    4. jonathan 11


      Likely means they are using a multi-mode chipset so they can have a single device for both CDMA and GSM. Single SKU means higher volume on the production line (cheaper), only one support process (cheaper), one return/exchange/repair process (cheaper), and only one software load to debug (cheaper).

      Plus it moves North America closer to the European model since it might make it possible for customers to switch between VZ and ATT.

    5. Chad H.


      So those silly sods who want to roam globally but signed up to a Betamax - sorry, I meant CDMA network like Verizon can.

  5. Herby

    It would be more interesting if...

    The dual mode (GSM/CDMA) would be picked dynamically. That way the network operators WILL need to compete on coverage, and not just say that it is "good" ("can you hear me now?")!

  6. Robert Moore

    Bondi Blue

    The iphone 5 will only come in Bondi Blue.

    You heard it here first.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It will be clear and cube shaped.

      Or translucent and shaped like a hockey puck.

      Apple needs to work off the cost of that old tooling.

  7. nsld

    oooh an 8 mega pixel camera......

    Just like the one on my Samsung Galaxy S2.

    And some ram and a processor that are almost the same.

    They have almost caught up with these "innovations"

    1. Robert Sneddon

      A 13.2Mpixel compact camera with a phone built in (or is it the other way round?) The bad news is it's only for the Japanese market.

    2. Jedit Silver badge

      No, no, no

      Haven't you been keeping up? Samsung copied the next-gen iPhone and got their copy out first.

    3. Annihilator


      "ram and a processor that are almost the same" - erm, you mean doubled in terms of capacity and performance? Rush Apple to the burns unit, you've really got them there...

      As for megapixels count, that barely enters my consideration when buying a DSLR today, let alone a phone.

      Criticise Apple if you must (and there are many reasons you may wish to), but you may want to get a more coherent argument than those.

      1. nsld

        @ Annhilator

        ""ram and a processor that are almost the same" - erm, you mean doubled in terms of capacity and performance? Rush Apple to the burns unit, you've really got them there..."

        They may have doubled in capacity over the last iThingy but they are only just catching up with the S2 in terms of processor and memory, the same with the camera and many other features.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Mine is bigger than yours

          Since when was the sheer size of RAM or whatever a virtue? From those I know with iphones and Androids, the real thing is the perceived speed and capacity, in which the iphone does just fine so far. Just because Windows and Android may need ever expanding numbers with every patch does not mean they are better. Time was when doing more with less (more reliably and cheaply) was admired. MS was, perhaps still is, castigated for its ever-growing hunger for more memory, faster chips etc.. But for Android, mine is bigger than yours (who can tell in the dark?) is lauded as a virtue. Oh dear.

          Does this mean you can talk/listen faster? Can your web response finally outpace that of the network? How many pixels does a telephone camera really need (my wife's first Olympus digital camera, with all of 4 megapixels, produces better pictures in poor light than my Lumix with 10 (not just because she is a better photographer). My little Nokia C7 does remarkably well with just 3.2 for the sort of casual pictures one takes with a mobile. My daughter's Android, a widely applauded model, takes rubbish pictures (and seems to crash, go slow, lose calls at the drop of a hat or an application download, runs the battery to empty in less than a day ..., as is also the case for some work colleagues).

          Please attain adulthood and become a little more dispassionate about material things. Go to church, synagogue, mosque, temple, stone circle or whatever for religion (but please avoid religious wars, they cost enough lives all ready).

          Repeat, often: it's a telephone, it's a telephone, made by humans, used by humans, replaced at sadly short intervals. It's a telephone, with some extras, still a telephone.

          And if you know so much about these things, how is it that your perfect design of hardware or software has not swept the market clean yet? Talk is cheap, like most of these opinions.

  8. dave 93

    It's all about iOS 5

    And only the new ones will do the new AI voice thing

    1. Ilgaz

      and it will be big deal

      Symbian does voice recognition for ages and a true, full feature "cloud powered" app exists for years now, offered free at Ovi store. Vlingo I guess, sorry for not keeping up with coolish names.

      I am just glad my native language isn't English, would be either funny or pathetic watching people trying to show off with their iphone 5s.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So the various providers have a shed load of iPhone4 stock to desperately get rid off now everbody wants the new toy AND claw back some of that investment they paid for the stock, and now they're going to give that stock away for free with contracts?

    Happy to be proved wrong but somehow that's seems a little odd.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      It depends how they got the stock

      There is more than one way to get stock in the business world. Buying it "cash and carry" and reselling it is actually not that common.

      Quite often you do not pay for stock. Quite often (especially in high tech goods) you do not own the stock you are selling. It is still owned by the manufacturer and the manufacturer determines the sales price so all you get is a commission.

      So is it sold at 300 or at 30 is bugger all difference provided that your commission does not change.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously?

      You really think that various providers have shed loads full of iPhone4's ?

      Any provider that's in that position, should fire a whole slough of people on the spot or (even better) shut down their business. One thing about Apple product launches is that they are way out in the open and one can base one's strategy upon those. That excludes any direct information from Apple, locked down with tons of NDAs and an army of expensive (and efficient) lawyers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nice troll

      The iPhone channel isn't stuffed - they sell. And the 'free' phone is a new configuration, not yet available.

      So, apart from being 100% wrong, you're right.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the death of common sense

    If you have to pay money weekly/monthly then the product you gain is NOT free.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      NOT free

      Agreed, about time that Trading Standards, Advertising Standards and OFCOM looked at these 'offers'.

      I recently did a comparison exercise on new smart-phones and the cost of purchase on Amazon compared to getting them 'free'. Even buying the same service on contract with the same provider, and I did it for several, it still worked out at slightly cheaper to buy it outright and then sign up for a contract than to get it free on long contract. This discounts the fact that for my anticipated light use, I do not need 600 free minutes and I only do about 5 texts a month so PAYG was by far cheaper.

      Guess what?

      Still on PAYG!

      The advertising seems about as straight as the old broadband 'Up To' con.

      1. HP Cynic

        Indeed the Contracts are loaded to pay for the hardware during the contract. A surprising number of people still don't seem to realise this.

        Right now it seems that If you buy a phone upfront you break-even in just under 2 years in and from then you pull way out in front. Obviously if you see a 1-year contract it will be loaded even more heavily or will require a part-payment upfront.

        The simplest comparison when I looked at the iPhone 4 as it is now (all over 24 months with similar data/mins/SMS):

        Buy for £600 then pay £15/month = £960

        "Buy" for £109 then pay £40/month = £1,069

        "Free" and then £45/month = £1,080

        £15/month is close to my ceiling anyway not because I can't afford to pay more but because I've not been trained to pay £30-£45/month and am absolutely not willing to!

    2. stu 4

      I think it died a long time ago...

      every time I drive by a car dealership advertising a brand new Mingmong Deathmaster for £199 a month or whatever.... and the small print has an initial payment of 4k and a final payment of 4k...

      you sort of wonder why they don't advertise it as 'free' or 99p a month - it would be no less accurate.

      my mate gets a new car every 3 years - 'it doesn't cost me anything - it's the same £300 a month'...

      er... but you'd be paying nothing a month if you kept the 3 year old car.

      'no, you don't understand: it's costing me nothing - just the £300 a month I was paying anyway'.



  11. Anonymous Coward

    But you you be able to make or receive calls without putting it on a table and shouting at it???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How the hell does this get upvoted? Is this the level of contribution that you need to make to qualify for an upvote? FFS.

  12. Tubby21288

    *Hopefully* Apple have learned from the iPhone 4 and tested the new ones extensively to make sure they have no issues. I like Apple's products and would love an iPhone however until they get there act together I won't be buying one.

  13. Z80

    "...what's an Apple product roll-out without a healthy dollop of delicious rumor-mongering?"


  14. Bob Bobson

    Still crap value

    You've been able to get the far higher spec HTC Sensation for £21.50 per month, zero upfront, for at least two months now.

    1. Mick Sheppard


      Apples != Oranges, or HTC for that matter

  15. euauikapaui

    Even better

    T-Mob called me out of the blue two months ago (I used to be one of their customers) and offered me a free (white) iPhone 4 in exchange for a £27 per month contract over two years.

    One of the few sales calls I'm glad I listened to!

  16. David

    Makes Me Laugh

    All these comments make me smile. I've used various Android phones, an iPhone 3G, 3Gs and 4 plus various Blackberries.

    The iPhone 3G still beats most of the Android handsets out today hands down for simple usability, apps etc (nothing will beat the Blackberry keyboard tho). The 3Gs was simply a more responsive version. Not that it needed the speed boost - the 3G was still more responsive than most of the Android handsets out now, which still don't feel as smooth as iOS.

    Sure, you're locked down in what you can do in some areas, but for the majority of users, that's fine. It's never stopped me doing a single thing I've wanted to. I am now the happy user of an iPhone 4 and would never touch Android again.

    So all these great handsets out there with loads of RAM and dual core CPUs - doesn't that say something about the OS? Apple managed to get the OS responsive from the word go, with lower powered kit. Well done them.

    So slag Apple off if you like, there's lots to criticise, but I just don't see how anyone can say Android is a better user/owner experience than iOS.

    Oh, and you can get a free, new 3Gs on O2 on a 24 month contract for £21.50 a month. Pretty decent deal.

    1. magnetik

      "Oh, and you can get a free, new 3Gs on O2 on a 24 month contract for £21.50 a month. Pretty decent deal."

      in other words over £500, or three times what it costs to buy a PAYG Samsung Galaxy Ace which is better than the 3GS.

      Decent deal my *rse.

      1. David

        Never Happy

        It wouldn't have mattered what I said, you wouldn't have been happy. Have you factored in how much the minutes, texts and data allowance you get for the £21.50 a month would work out on PAYG? How does it work out then (I'm genuinely interested as I don't know the answer).

        1. magnetik

          Happy? I'm super happy with my phone.

          Yes, of course I've factored that in. With a £10 topup I can get the same data allowance and three times as many minutes as you get with a £21.50 / m contract on O2.

          Over the contract term of two years your 3GS costs £126 more than it costs me to buy a Galaxy Ace outright (which is almost enough cash to buy another Ace incidentally), yet I get three times as many minutes, free tethering and my phone is unlocked.

          Still think you're getting a great deal?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Chad H.

        Come now, be fair - how much are you paying for network access?

  17. Lusty

    pay monthly

    Although paying monthly does end up paying for the phone, at least with iPhone my 2 year old bashed up 3GS is still worth £130 even with Mazuma. My housemate has an Android 2 years old which is worth £40 so the extra cost may be worthwhile.

  18. David


    Just to update you on my question, how much on your PAYG tariff would:

    12,000Mb of data

    12,000 texts

    2400 minutes

    cost? Add that onto your handset cost and let me know which is the better deal.

    1. magnetik

      See previous answer, except that not only do I get three times as many minutes but forgot to mention the six times as many texts as you get with your contract.

      You're kidding yourself if you think you're getting a good deal on such an old phone.

      1. David

        Fair Dos

        Fair dos - you are getting a good deal and clearly a better deal than me.

  19. lemmac

    ^^^ Best bet, get the phone for free on contract, unlock it, remove sim, sell phone at going rate on ebay and use all those lovely and literally free minutes on the sim, paid for by the cash from phone sale, in your existing phone...

  20. N13L5


    Journalists quoting corporate deception just pisses me off.

    Obviously, that one is not free, just like the other ones don't cost $99 or $199 or whatever the 'official' sticker is.

    Don't let our mothers and grandmothers run into the knife of this kind of bs!

    Take some responsibility...

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