If you’ve been itching to buy yourself an iPhone without the pesky two-year commitment to AT&T, then your chance is finally here. According to the Associated Press, AT&T will offer no-commitment purchases of 8GB and 16GB iPhones for $599 and $699, respectively, beginning on March 26th.
We’ve known about this no-contract option since last July’s introduction of the iPhone 3G, though it hasn’t been available as a purchase option until now. In addition to not being bound by the usual two-year contract, customers who buy the no-commitment iPhone can also activate it at home via iTunes instead of having to do so in the AT&T store—a nice, if pretty darn expensive option for those looking to buy an iPhone as a gift.
No-commitment doesn’t mean unlocked, though—you’ll still have to activate the phone with AT&T in order to use the cell service (or, if you want to use it with a different provider, hack it). But it does mean that your service with AT&T is on a month-to-month basis with no early termination fee. Without activation, of course, the iPhone essentially operates as a marginally souped-up iPod touch. Or, you know, you could just buy an iPod touch.
Furthermore, since AT&T’s early termination fee for the iPhone’s two-year contract is just $175, we’re not sure why you wouldn’t just sign up and cancel. Even after activation fees and a month's worth of service (to avoid having to return the phone when you cancel within 30 days), it still seems like you'd save yourself more than $100. But, hey, maybe you just like doing things the prim and proper way.