Like an elusive unicorn, the unlocked iPhone 5 remains a pipedream in the United States, where the government doesn’t require telcos to offer unlocked, contract-free devices alongside subsidized ones, like in Italy, France and elsewhere.

If you’re unwilling to commit your soul to your carrier just to get your hands on an iPhone 5, you may wanna keep a close eye on the online Apple Store at around 9pm tonight as it’s been reported factory-unlocked devices will appear as early as this midnight…

Additionally, word on the street is that the iPhone maker will be offering the sought-after device in its own brick-and-mortar stores sooner than later.

The unlocked 5 prices will likely be $649/$749/$849 for the 16/32/64GB version. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Of course, Apple’s retail outlets in Canada are selling the iPhone 5 factory-unlocked as we speak.

“Apple’s chain of retail stores will begin selling the unlocked devices soon, but have yet to be provided a start sales date”, Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac writes.

We’re also hearing that Apple will expand its Apple Store Personal Pickup program to allow customers to reserve devices at any time of the day, not just after 10 PM.

Here’s how to check if your iPhone is factory-unlocked.

It’s been a little over two months sine the iPhone 5 became available, prompting questions over this lack of factory-unlocked offering (unlocked iPhone 4S units became available a month following the launch).

Of course, if you’re purchasing a Verizon iPhone 5, you’re already getting an unlocked device.

Have you been holding out for a contract-free iPhone 5?

  • Loco

    been using an verizon iPhone 5 on T-mobile for two months now and on HSPA+ network.

    • Just curious, how is the speed from

      Would you mind to share some data?

    • How is the speed?

      Would you mind to share some data?

      • Loco

        it’s about 6.4 – 8 Mbps down, 1- 1.5 Mbps on average.

      • It is pretty good, but I am sure you can’t go back if you have the 4G LTE for a week!

        I don’t stream video or music with my iPhone, only email/website, and I am ~2GB(only wifi at home because the 4G LTE is 10 times faster than the backup-DSL line in the office) per month now, back then it is 1GB(wifi at home and office because the 3G, 4G+ is too slow…)

      • Loco

        but isn’t there only one carrier has 4G LTE in Hong Kong? My gf is from hong kong and she’s using the carrier”3″ ,she only gets 3G on her iPhone 5.

      • I am from NYC~

      • Loco

        I’m sorry, i thought you’re from HK, mb.

      • I do understand the monthly fee in US is crazy… but without LTE I think it is not worth it to use iPhone 5. Just my 2 cents.

      • Loco

        and compare to the “edge” i used to use back in the days, it’s hundred times faster lol

  • Carlos Garcia

    We’ve had the unlocked iPhone 5 in the Mexican Apple Store for a almost a month

    • Since day 1 in Hong Kong… so?

      Oh we are talking about US.

      • Orange5506

        Pretty much North America not just US? 😕

      • Please correct if I read this wrong, this post is about the off-contract iPhone 5 is finally available in United State.

      • Orange5506

        The guy above you mentioned Mexico as well. From somewhere else also Canada as well.

      • Exactly, this post is about unlocked iPhone 5 is finally available in US Apple Store.

        Why would you mention “somewhere else”?

        Like I said in one of my post, it has been selling as unlocked in HK since day 1 of iPhone 5, but it has nothing to do with the US Apple store.

        By the way, it didn’t take this long last year for iPhone 4S.

  • What’s the point verizons iPhone 5 is already unlocked for any carrier haha

    • Unlocked for any carrier for HSPA+, pass.

  • Jon

    Unlocking services are just $2 on eBay…

    • How much is a iPhone without contract?

      • I don’t understand the “dislike” about?

        Unlocking service is cheap on eBay anyway, I got mine for ~5bucks, the problem is we can’t buy a iPhone 5 alone without a contract.

        When Apple start selling the iPhone 5 alone, that phone will be official unlocked.

        Please wake up.

      • M Last

        are you sure? Verizon or sprint????????????
        unlocking cost around $150

      • I have unlocked five iPhone 5 from eBay($5-7), after I restored the firmware, I got an official message from iTunes – Your iPhone has been unlocked.

        I am using at&t, as soon as there is contrat free iPhone 5 available, I have few co-workers with t-mobile would cut their sim card for the iPhone 5 then I can test it on my iPhone.

  • been saving for the iphone5 factory unlocked and spend it all on black friday.

  • Tony the Tiger

    I’ve actually walked into my local Apple Store about 2 weeks ago and asked to buy an unlocked iPhone 5 without a contract and they sold it to me no questions asked.

    Edit: In Florida if any of you guys are wondering.

    • Probably a Verizon phone, because those are factory unlocked a d can be used on any carrier, AT&T, Verizon T-Mobile, etc

  • Tony the Tiger

    I’ve actually walked into my local Apple Store in Florida and asked them if I could buy an unlocked 64gb iPhone 5. They sold it to me no questions asked.

  • Got the iPhone 5 at launch day subsidized and unlock the same week on eBay

  • expensive

  • harsh agarwal

    bought it in india a month back..