The Clarion-Ledger out of Jackson, MS has a report that Apple's iPhone may not be available in areas without Cingular service due to a multi-year deal with AT&T-Cingular. That seems to be a significant portion of the country. (There's also the issue that Cingular's service sort of sucks. Could be a myth but I've heard it too many times to discount it completely.)
There is this little tidbit in the article:
A user could purchase an iPhone without activating the cell phone features, said Cingular's chief national spokesman, Mark Siegel, although he thought doing that wouldn't make much sense.
“It is meant to be a wireless phone,” he said. “As a practical matter, you have to have wireless service.”
Well, if you live in Minneapolis, MN, you could have wireless service via Wi-Fi within the city limits. (Not to mention that surrounding suburbs might cut reciprical deals so you could extend your Wi-Fi account throughout region.)
So the question is can I buy an iPhone without a Cingular contract? I would not be able to use it as a cellphone but I could use it to make wireless calls over the Internet (VOIP).