Sure, you've gotta pay $399 for the device, but then you're a free man (or woman): for $55 a month, on Cricket Wireless (which uses the Sprint network) you can use the iPhone on a prepaid plan that you can use or dump as it suits you. No big contract.

One might think this will make the iPhone more accessible to lower-income customers, who often benefit from the flexibility afforded by prepaid plans. Then again, you still have to buy an expensive doggone phone.

Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich