• My Two Cents on the Apple SIM

    I don't own an iPad, but I know a thing or two about SIM cards. I've 39 of them tucked away in an envelope in my closet (I just dug them out and counted). So when it comes to the Apple-branded nano SIM that's shipping with the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, I'm... well, perplexed is what I am.

    As someone who's used SIM cards in unlocked devices since 2001 I'm not sure I'm buying what Apple is peddling here.

    From what I've read the consensus seems to be that there are two things about the Apple SIM that make it a "game changer" (quotes are deliberate): Convenience and choice. Let's break this down, shall we?

    1. Convenience

    I had a good laugh reading this bit on Trusted Reviews:

    Changing to a new operator or a second mobile account won't require messing around with fiddly SIMs, wiry SIM tools and easy-to-loose [sic] SIM trays. Assuming this technology eventually trickles down to non-Apple devices, there will also be no more removing the rear cover and battery.
    Yah, because user-replaceable batteries are totally stoopid, amirite? But wait, there's more:

    Ever tried moving a nano-SIM into a micro-SIM slot? Finding an adaptor, assembling said hybrid, and inserting it into a slender modern phone can be frustrating to say the least.
    Wow, you're bad at this... Most modern-day SIMs I come across are actually convertible—that is, a mini-sized SIM with a micro cut-out if you need it. I'm speaking about Android devices here, of course; if you're an Apple user you need a nano SIM. End of story.

    As for the "fiddly-ness" of changing SIMs, it's never taken me more than five minutes to do this with a pair of phones. And most times when I'm travelling somebody at the local carrier's shop will do it for me.

    Sure, not having to swap your SIM is obviously more convenient, but ceding control of your network connection to Apple is a shaky proposition at best.

    2. Choice

    Those deep within Apple's reality distortion field are already imagining a future where carriers race each other to the bottom for the express privilege of providing a data connection to your Apple device. Well, I hate to break it to you, but this just isn't going to happen, at least not anytime soon.

    Here's new iPad owner Dave Zatz to elaborate:

    The Apple SIM theoretically saves Apple some packaging expenses and provides us, the end users, with amazing flexibility – buy the iPad and choose whichever carrier we want at any point after we get it home. And, down the road, we’d be free to flip carriers as coverage or pricing changes. It’s a grand, consumer-friendly vision. However, the future hasn’t quite arrived. Due, once again, to short-sighted carrier protectionism.
    If you hadn't heard, the AT&T network will recognize an Apple SIM but won't let you change providers once you've selected AT&T. And Verizon, the largest carrier by subscriber numbers in the United States, has chosen not to play with the Apple SIM at all. The disconnect between Apple and the carriers is so great that T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to Twitter to explain. I found this tweet especially interesting:

    12/ Clearly the Apple SIM is a smart move on Apple’s part - it expands and enhances their position in the mobile ecosystem. — John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 25, 2014
    I wonder if Apple users won't ultimately be swapping out a carrier lock for an Apple one.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: My Two Cents on the Apple SIM started by acurrie View original post
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. robbyrobby's Avatar
      robbyrobby -
      my couple thoughts:

      at&t is shooting themselves in the foot. i can imagine a lot people would want t-mobile or sprint as there every day carrier but would like to flip over to at&t for coverage every now and than and than go back to the main t-mobile or sprint account. i doubt many of those people will choose at&t full time if they can't switch around. i also doubt at&t full time users would occasional switch to t-mobile or sprint.

      my other though is that if apple really want to price competition coming out of this they need to have not only the major carriers but the MVNOs as well.
    1. kpo'm's Avatar
      kpo'm -
      I'm not sure why people are so suspicious. Apple would love to do away with SIM cards altogether and just have people buy phones from them and pick the carrier of their choosing through software, rather than buy them from carriers. This is the first baby step toward that vision. They wouldn't have to carry different SKUs for each carrier (which is getting to be a hassle as their iPad and iPhone product lines grow). And this is good for travelers, too. SIMs are easy to lose, and I don't always have a paper clip with me. Apple just wants to sell as many phones and iPads as they can. They don't really have an interest in limiting choice.
    1. robbyrobby's Avatar
      robbyrobby -
      the problem with eliminating SIM would be small MVNO may not have the resources to negotiate with apple to be on the list of carrier choices. personally have lived through the CDMA days really prefer to have my service tied to a SIM and not any piece of hardware.

      apple could easily do away with multiple SKUs by not shipping any SIM card at all with phones, SIM could be provided desperately by the carriers and apple stores could have stocks available from the various carriers package separate from phones and tablets.
    1. daleraver's Avatar
      daleraver -
      To the OP, I think the carrier selectable sim is a great idea, and very useful under certain circumstances.

      Before I bought my iPhone 6 plus, I was using an i5s. Amazon.com sells a dual sim case for the 5/5s iPhone and I used one for about 8 months until the upgrade. I had an AT&T sim and also a T-Mobile sim installed.

      It was very useful to run the TM sim while driving and getting unlimited music data streaming in my car, and having my AT&T line readily available when I wasn't streaming Pandora.

      I also travel out of the USA several times a year, and not having to swap and keep track of sim cards while living out of a suitcase was also handy. The TM service in Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico is acceptable for mapping and cheap calls. I could replace my AT&T sim with a KeepGo data only sim, or install a local sim from a foreign carrier and still keep the TM functional.

      The Apple sim could have been a partial solution to losing the functionality of the Amazon dual sim case, but AT&T, in their infinite wisdom, needed to lock it down for some as yet unexplained reason.
    1. terryjohnson16's Avatar
      terryjohnson16 -
      I think the apple sim will lock next year on the 6s devices. One sim installed but depending on which carrier you choose for a contract, the phone will lock there.

      If choosing tmobile, the device will be unlocked

      via the HoFo App
    1. scaredpoet's Avatar
      scaredpoet -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      I wonder if Apple users won't ultimately be swapping out a carrier lock for an Apple one.
      You can always remove the Apple SIM and insert a SIM from the carrier of your choice, thus thwarting this dastardly, evil plan of Apple's that you've uncovered.

      I did just that. Not because of any paranoia... I just already have an activated SIM.
    1. acurrie's Avatar
      acurrie -
      Breaking news from Fierce Wireless:

      Apple exec: Don't expect Apple SIM to show up in iPhones

      Well, so much for that...
    1. Eileen89's Avatar
      Eileen89 -
      Quote Originally Posted by acurrie View Post
      Breaking news from Fierce Wireless:

      Apple exec: Don't expect Apple SIM to show up in iPhones

      Well, so much for that...
      I wasn't expecting that the Apple SIM feature would work with iPhones since the wireless carriers were not participating with it in the new iPads Airs. I had to get a brand new T-Mobile Sim in order to get the 200MB of free data promo on my new iPad Air 2. With AT&T locking the Apple Sim to their network after activating and Verizon requiring their own SIM card for use, my Apple sim now sits inactivated in the box.

      Sent from my LTE 128GB iPad Air 2 using Tapatalk