06/13/2011 06:26 pm ET | Updated Aug 13, 2011

Unlocked iPhone 4 Rumors: What You Need To Know

We tech journalists love our silly jargon, even if it's gibberish to the average user. So if you heard the rumor that Apple will start selling an unlocked iPhone 4 on Wednesday, allow me to explain what that means.

If you buy an iPhone in the United States today, you must pledge allegiance to a single wireless carrier and never go astray. An AT&T iPhone will always be an AT&T iPhone, unless you're willing to do a bit of hacking and "unlock" the phone yourself. An official unlocked iPhone 4 would, in theory, let users switch wireless carriers at will, without hacking or worrying that future Apple software updates will turn their phones into paperweights.

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