If having a contract is what has been holding you back from getting an iPhone, that soon won't be a problem. Apple is getting ready to sell the device without a contract as long as you pay full price, which is $499 for the base model. Is it worth it?Our European friends are used to buying phones and contracts for service separately. They also tend to have more freedom to move around to different networks but in the US that is a bit of a rarity. Gizmodo has obtained a leaked document where Apple will be offering the 8GB 3G iPhone for $499,the 16GB 3GS for $599 or the 32GB 3GS for $699 without any contract. You do not have to have any type of account with AT&T nor show any form of ID.
I am not sure I get the "no ID" angle. Maybe this will be the new phone of choice for terrorists. Anyway, you are only allowed one purchase per day. Since you don't have to give an ID though, the whole "one per day" limit is pretty meaningless.
Here is the catch though. The phone is still locked to AT&T's network. You are welcome to unlock it, but you are on your own with that task.
I am sure there are valid reasons for buying a phone like this. Giving it as a gift would make the most sense. If you already have an AT&T account and want to switch to the iPhone, this new policy makes it easy to walk into any Apple store and pick one up. I suspect for most of us though, buying it with a contract makes the most financial sense given the huge subsidies AT&T gives with a two year contract.