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Unlocked US Apple iPhone 4 Hints At Global iPhone 5 Launch

Apple took everyone by surprise by rolling out unlocked iPhone 4 smartphones in the US, a move that came just a few days after Steve Jobs' keynote speech at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.

An unlocked iPhone 4 means that users will be able to roam around freely without being bound by a contract to any mobile carrier and, dare we say, the company is clearing out existing stocks of the current handset before the launch of the iPhone 5.

More importantly, it looks likely that Apple will go for a more aggressive, much faster roll out worldwide of the successor to the iPhone 4, significantly reducing the timeframe between the official launch of the handset and its appearance in non US markets.

Last year, it took 18 days for the iPhone 4 to reach the UK, and we suspect that Apple may be contemplating releasing the iPhone 5 simultaneously around the globe in a number of territories, including the 18 that received the phone nearly one month after the launch in 2010.

Doing so would ensure that Apple takes the competition by surprise and smashes its own 24-hour sales figures leaving rivals' sales strategies in disarray.

In hindsight, it does make sense for Apple to delay the iPhone 5 by a few months in order to build enough stocks (north of 10 million units) and make sure that its iCloud cloud-based infrastructure is resilient enough to sustain the meteoric rise in traffic that it is likely to experience.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.