Unlocking is not nearly as important to iPhone users as it once was. Over the last couple of years, Apple has opened up its popular handset to hundreds of new carriers, and has even started selling its own factory unlocked models.

But if you don’t want to spend $650 buying the unlocked version of Apple’s new iPhone 4S, you have a few other options. One, you could wait for the iPhone Dev team to release its unlock for the new handset. Or you can pre-order one of these…

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDC42MwfJO8p[/tube]

A group of hackers calling themselves the ChinaSnow Dev Team are claiming they have created a hardware-based unlock for both the iPhone 4 and 4S using a SIM interposer. Dubbed the TPSIM unlock, the method it uses is very similar to that of the Gevey SIM.

Here’s a list of the TPSIM unlock’s features:

  • Plug and play, no jailbreak required
  • No need to dial 112 after activation
  • Supports 3G, EDGE, MMS, and FaceTime
  • Supports iPhone 4S baseband 1.0.11, 1.0.13 and 1.0.14.
  • Supports iPhone 4 baseband 1.59.00, 2.10.04, 3.10.01, 4.10.01
  • Won’t affect your device’s warranty — no hardware modding needing
  • Robust and sturdy steal custom SIM tray
  • Unlock works on all world networks
  • Uses high performance original F981 chip for ultra-low power consumption

Although it’s not available yet, it looks like the ChinaSnow Dev Team is taking pre-orders for its TPSIM unlock. The contraption will cost you $84.95, and the group expects it to be available for shipping later this month.

As with all new, untested unlock methods, we recommend holding off from ordering the TPSIM unlock until we’ve confirmed that it works as advertised. If you have any questions about unlocking your iPhone, make sure to check out our dedicated Unlock page.

[HowToArena via RedmondPie]