Update 2: Received this from Matthew East, Vodafone New Zealand communications: "Yes, that is correct, all iPhones sold in NZ since the launch of the iPhone 3G (July 2007) have been sold unlocked in New Zealand. The ones sold through the Apple Store here in New Zealand are also not locked to any one carrier."
Sorry about that people, that was an incorrect assumption on our part and you know what they say about assumption.
Update: A commenter has suggested below that all New Zealand iPhones sold through the Apple Store and Vodafone are already unlocked. Emails have been sent requesting confirmation and the story will be updated when we receive replies.
According to Apple Insider, unlocked iPhones may be sold from Apple's US stores as early as this week.
If the rumours were true, it would mean buyers would not have to resort to after-market resellers or second-hand deals for an iPhone untethered to a mobile provider.
In New Zealand, the authorised iPhone carrier is Vodafone, though unlocked versions can be used on Telecom XT and 2degrees.
Should unlocked iPhones go on sale through Apple in the US, it is almost certain Apple New Zealand will follow suit within months.
The same leak suggested Nuance-supported voice recognition will be included in iOS 5.