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Apple said to offer full-price iPhones sans AT&T contract

Apple will reportedly begin selling its iPhone 3GS without an AT&T contract, but don't expect it to be an unlocked phone.

iPhone 3GS contract

Despite earlier rumors, it does not appear Apple is selling unlocked iPhones.

Apple blog 9to5Mac reported earlier Monday that it heard Apple stores would start selling iPhones at their full price, meaning without carrier subsidy. The iPhone 3GS is listed at $499 for the 8GB model, $599 for 16GB, and $699 for 32GB.

This was interpreted as Apple selling unlocked phones, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Instead it appears Apple stores will sell anyone an iPhone at full price without having to sign up for or show proof of an AT&T service contract, but the devices are still locked to the carrier.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple instituted this sales option almost exactly a year agowith the iPhone 3G. This could be a pattern, and if so, it's another good indicator that the next-generation iPhone is on its way.