Apple didn’t just unveil its new iPads on Thursday — it announced a separate, less advertised product that could mean trouble for wireless carriers.
With its new iPad Air 2, Apple customers will have the option of buying a cellular version loaded with the company’s new “Apple SIM” card, as Dan Frommer at Quartz points out.
A SIM card is that tiny piece of plastic in your phone that allows you to connect to a carrier’s wireless network.
Typically, a SIM card is programmed to work with one specific carrier. So, if you buy a phone on a two-year contract from AT&T, it’ll come with an AT&T SIM card inside. If you wanted to use that same phone on Verizon, you would have to buy a SIM card from Verizon and put it in that phone.
But Apple wants to change how that model works. Apple’s SIM card works with multiple carriers, so you wouldn’t have to purchase an iPad or SIM card from a carrier. To be clear, this isn’t like simply buying an AT&T SIM card directly from Apple instead of AT&T. With Apple’s SIM card, you can switch carriers whenever you please without having to commit to a two-year contract or make any purchases directly through the carrier.
Here’s how Apple explains it on its website:
The new Apple SIM is preinstalled on iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models. 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.
With a device like the iPad, the effect on carriers likely won’t be that significant. Many users opt for the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad, and tablets aren’t as heavily subsidized as phones on a two-year contract.
For example, an iPhone 6 through AT&T on a two-year contract starts at $199, substantially less than the full price of $649. AT&T cuts only $100 off the iPad when you commit to a two-year contract, which isn’t that much of a difference compared to the iPad’s full price.
If Apple rolls this SIM — For more information read the original article here.