Thanks. I'm thinking of getting a contract free T-Mobile phone from the Apple store which are reportedly unlocked.
I use AT&T but can't buy the phone out right for personal pick up from what I can see from any source
Yes, they are the same hardware. The contract-free T-Mobile iPhones are unlocked and will work on any worldwide GSM carrier including AT&T. I would buy choose the T-Mobile iPhone over the AT&T because then you don't have to go through AT&T to get it unlocked, which you would be eligible for since you're paying full cost.