Will it be possible to buy the iPhone without a Cingular contract? Cingular said no, but a tipster says yes, and it will be crazy expensive:
As a employee of a company I cannot mention but that sells the majority of cingular phones that are sold in this country. I can tell this to you in hopes of you passing it on to all my die hard mac loving brothers. The iPhone will be available without a contract, that is if it comes to us via cingular. We will not have a product with at $$$ price tag that people are willing to outright buy on our shelves just sit on those shelves just because of “contracts”. I’m not saying it won’t be f&#*ing expensive but if it comes here it will be available. If not publicly at least in practice.
What do we want to wager a contract-free Cingular phone to cost?
$1600 $700? A pretty penny, but not having the hassle of dealing with Cingular’s crappy network and anti-consumer policies might make up the difference.
Aside: From Cingular’s CSR automated talking point system:
Q. Where can I buy the iPhone? Can I pre-order the iPhone?
A. The iPhone will be available in Cingular stores, at http://www.cingular.com, through direct mail and direct phone offers from Cingular, as well as through Apple stores and http://www.apple.com. We are not taking pre-orders.
Additionally, the Cingular talking point system says the device will be sold to current at customers at the “new” customer pricing rate, but no discounts will be made.
— BEN POPKEN