Yesterday was a big event for Apple as it announced the newest iPad Air 2, the slightly improved next-generation iPad Mini, the gorgeous 27-inch Retina display iMac and the free OS X Yosemite upgrade. However, there’s one feature that many overlooked – the new Apple SIM.
This is a preinstalled data-only SIM card that has been inserted into the $499 iPad Air 2 and lets users change carriers very easy. At the moment, it is available only in the U.S. on AT&T, Sprint and T Mobile and in the U.K. on EE cariers. iPad Air 2 onwers can buy short-term data plans and then can switch between the carriers to find the deal that suits them the most.
Apple says on its website that users “may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip”. It also added the following on its website:
The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad. So whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you—with no long-term commitments. And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip.
Considering that it’s working in the UK, as well, this means users can just switch carriers instead of paying expensive charges. Imagine if Apple plans to do the same for the iPhone – then we’ll be talking about a real game changer!
Usually, when buying data SIMs for their iPads, users have to sign a contract with carriers which ties them into paying a monthly or yearly bill. But we’re wondering why has Apple decided to reveal this feature with the iPad announcement and not with the iPhone launch? Also, the company didn’t speak at all about the new feature on stage.
Could this mean that they’re afraid of tough opposition from carriers, who are also their partners to sell products? Or, is Apple silently planning to sell its products as its pleases, if we take into consideration the always growing number of Apple Store locations all over the world. Still, at this point, the company relies on carriers to sell its products, so maybe that’s why it decided not to talk too much about this feature.
So, with the new Apple SIM, instead of swapping the card, you just pick a new carrier through the device’s on screen settings. At the moment, you can’t buy one separately but if Apple develops this concept, it could prove to be disruptive to the current telecom business.