The hidden announcement from the iPad event: the new Apple SIM cards

Among all the excitement with the new iPads yesterday, not to mention the new iMac, you might be forgiven for not realizing Apple made another announcement, albeit quietly: it’s turning itself into a mobile carrier, and it just launched the “Apple SIM”.

Don’t get too excited though, that’s just an approximation of what’s actually happening and you won’t get to sign-up for a 4G iNetwork anytime soon. But Apple is indeed doing something interesting with the SIMs found inside the new iPads.

The company is launching, or rather using, a new type of SIM that’s supposedly reprogrammable to work with any network, anywhere. That mean users will be able to switch between carriers anytime they need to, without taking the SIM out of the device. Or at least that’s how the theory goes.

Unfortunately the reality isn’t so rosy just yet. The new SIMs do support AT&T, T-mobile and Sprint but Verizon is absent from that list. As for outside the US, the only carrier currently supported is the United Kingdom’s EE network.

The hope is, that sometime in the future a user will be able to switch between networks, carriers and pricing schemes to perfectly fit their needs. Imagine running out of data on your contract but being able to switch to a different carrier for a few hours to use their data offer, and then come back to your own carrier who’s offering better voice plans. That’s just an example but you can get an idea of where this is supposed to go.

Of course before any of that happens, that list of carriers mentioned above has to greatly increase, and Apple’s new type of SIM has to show up in other devices as well. Oh and let’s not forget the worst part of this: carriers have to actually get on-board with this plan before it becomes reality.

Source: Ars Technica | Image via Apple

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