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Unlocked iPhone 5 could arrive in Apple's Web store tonight

Apple will begin selling an unlocked version of the iPhone 5 in its U.S. online store tonight, according to a report from 9to5Mac.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
iPhone 5.
iPhone 5. CNET

Apple will begin selling an unlocked version of the iPhone 5 tonight through its online store in the U.S., according to a new report.

Citing retail sources, 9to5Mac says Apple will quietly kick off sales of the unlocked device on its online store this evening, later doing the same at its retail stores.

The news comes assupply of the iPhone 5 is easing, with new orders from Apple's online site shipping in one week, down from the nearly month-long delay shortly after the product's launch in September.

By selling it unlocked, it means that users can insert nano-SIM cards from any supported carrier for use on the network, as opposed to the locked phones, which are tied to the carrier they purchased the phone from. The feature comes at a cost: unlocked buyers pick up the full price of the iPhone, which is expected to start at $649, versus what is typically the subsidized $199 entry price on contract.

This would not be the first time Apple has offered an unlocked iPhone in the U.S. Apple did the same thing with last year's iPhone 4S, and with the iPhone 4 before that.

Apple did not respond to CNET's request for confirmation on the rumor.

Watch this: iPhone 5: Hands-on at CNET