Cricket may have been the first prepaid carrier to snag the iPhone in late June, but if Sprint has its way, it won't be the last.
If Cricket's prices are any indication -- $499.99 for the 16GB iPhone 4S and $399.99 for the 8GB iPhone 4 -- Boost's iPhones wouldn't come cheap. However, prices could dip slightly the closer that Boost Mobile, or any other carrier, gets to Apple's release of its next-generation iPhone 5, which is expected in October.
CNET has reached out to Apple for comment. Sprint responded that they don't comment on rumors about their product portfolio.
Democratizing the iPhone
Today's flurry of prepaid iPhone news takes the iPhone, once the province of the tech elite on a single carrier, to new proletariat levels that began when Apple began offering the iPhone 4S on three carriers, not just its former monolith of AT&T.
The move to prepaid is a point scored for customers who eschew the contract to finally consider the iPhone in addition to dominant Android smartphones and the token BlackBerry.
Spreading out among the lesser-known carriers is also a way for Apple to further penetrate the smartphone market with multiple versions of its single phone brand. With each yearly iPhone iteration, previous models will cost less, and become more affordable prepaid options for those who don't identify needing the most cutting edge features.
CNET's Roger Cheng takes Apple's leap into prepaid as a sign that the iPhone has lost its cool factor. After all, Apple has always maintained its snob appeal by outwardly demanding high levels of customer experience, including network stability and speed (insert AT&T crack here.) Prepaid carriers are not known for speedy data networks.
In the end, Apple's tactic for democratizing the iPhone does three things. It takes direct aim at Google's aggressive headway with its myriad Android phones, and expresses Apple's confidence in the iPhone 5 as an utterly compelling premium device. Finally, the move makes scads of prepaid customers happy to know that the icon of smartphone advancement is within their reach after all.
Article updated at 6:05 p.m. PT with Sprint's comment.