As expected, unlocked iPhone 5 handsets are now available to purchase from the Apple Online Store.

Prices for the contract-free sixth-generation iPhone are $649 (16 GB), $749 (32 GB) and $849 (64 GB). According to the Apple Online Store, the unlocked smartphones are available to ship in just one week. As Apple notes on its website:

The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a wireless contract commitment. You can activate and use iPhone on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States. The unlocked iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

If you don’t want a multiyear service contract, or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It does not come with a micro-SIM card for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, or a nano-SIM card for iPhone 5, so you’ll need to get one from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.

Alternatively, of course, folks can purchase an iPhone 5 on-contract. If you do this, the handset price of the smartphone drops to as little as $199.

Recent impressive iPhone sales means iOS overtook Android in terms of smartphone OS market share just the other day. The availability of unlocked iPhone 5 handsets means Apple’s share of the smartphone OS market is only going to grow.

Are you going to purchase an unlocked iPhone 5?

Source: Apple Online Store