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Apple iPhone 4S preorders begin; Sprint has unlimited data

Sprint.com Apple iPhone 4S pre-order

Apple's iPhone 4S was made available for preorder from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon on Friday morning.

The online reservation of arguably the most anticipated smart phone of the year caps what has been a whirlwind week for Apple Inc., the world's most valuable tech company.

All this week: the iPhone 4S was revealed by new Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook (his first time leading a product keynote), Sprint joined AT&T and Verizion as U.S. carriers selling the iPhone, press/pundits/analysts were divided in reaction to the iPhone 4S and, sadly, company co-founder Steve Jobs died at the age of 56 on Wednesday.

On Thursday, a day before preorders began, Sprint announced that it'd be the only U.S. carrier to offer an unlimited data plan for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 (or in general for that matter).

The iPhone 4S officially hits stores Oct. 14, one week from Friday.

Photos: Steve Jobs | 1955-2011

AT&T and Verizon both slow speeds and kick in surcharges once smart phone subscribers pass certain points of data consumption in a month. This point is unsurprisingly not lost on Sprint, the nation's third-largest carrier behind Verizon (No. 1) and AT&T (No. 2).

"Our unlimited data plans are the perfect fit for iPhone customers," said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in a statement. "Sprint's unlimited data plans provide more value than metered plans from other carriers. Our customers can take advantage of the innovative features of iPhone without worrying about overage charges or surprises on their bill."

No matter what carrier a consumer may want to buy an iPhone 4S from, the price will be the same -- $199.99 for 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, $299.99 for the 32-gigabyte model and $399.99 for the newly added 64-gigabyte iPhone.

The iPhone 4 moves down in cost to $99.99 and down, too, in storage to 8 gigabytes.

Any new iPhone 4S or 4 will require a new two-year data plan at the three carriers to go along with it to get the above prices.

Sprint's unlimited data plans (which each include unlimited text messaging) start at just $69.99 per month with 450 minutes of talk time, $89.99 for unlimited data with 900 minutes and $99.99 for unlimited minutes.

But Sprint, too, has a $10 per month "premium data add-on" fee just for smartphones, which means that iPhone 4S and 4 users on the network would have to pay rates of $79.99, $99.99 or $109.99 to buy into the unlimited plans, before taxes and other fees.

RELATED:

Timeline: The life and work of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs' virtual DNA to be fostered in Apple University

Apple design chief Jonathan Ive to carry on Jobs' creative vision

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screenshot of Sprint.com on Friday as the Apple iPhone 4S was made available for preorders. Credit: Sprint Nextel Corp.

 
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