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Apple Builds One SIM Card to Rule Them All

While the iPad Air 2 and iMac with 5K Retina Display made big waves during Apple's Oct. 16 media event, the company quietly debuted one of its most interesting innovations off-stage. Buried in the official Web page for the iPad Air 2 is a section for the new "Apple SIM," which allows you to hop between carriers without having to swap out SIM cards.

Detailed in the wireless section of Apple's iPad Air 2 landing page, the new Apple SIM comes preinstalled with all Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the new tablet. The special SIM lets you choose a short-term plan from various carriers, which currently include AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint in the U.S. and EE (formerly Everything Everywhere) in the U.K. 

MORE: iPad Air vs. iPad Air 2: Worth the Upgrade?

According to Apple, the Apple SIM may also let you utilize a data plan from a local carrier when you're abroad. The company hasn't made a big announcement about Apple SIM, which isn't even mentioned in the press materials for the iPad Air 2. There's no word on if the new tech will make its way to the iPhone, but being able to switch carriers at-will would be much more handy on a smartphone than on a tablet.

You'll be able to test out Apple SIM on the new iPad Air 2, which packs an even slimmer body than its predecessor while adding a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a faster A8X processor. You can pre-order the slate now, with orders shipping late next week.

Source: TechCrunch, Apple

Mike Andronico is an Associate Editor at Tom's Guide. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and onGoogle+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+

  • Phillip Corcoran
    Wow, that'll really be useful in my country (UK).
    Reply
  • lorribot
    This is almost good, here's a thought, let me select my provider, enter my account number and account password and "it just works", really what is the point of a SIM card at all?
    Reply
  • lorribot
    Here's another thought, 99% of of (smart)phone hardware is compatible, why cant I dual/triple boot or even select the OS of choice at first boot up?
    Reply
  • zankuto
    I don't know if apple thought this up first, but this is the first time apple has impressed me in a long time.
    Reply
  • ib2007
    Isn't this forum for questions not Apple fan boy spam?
    Reply
  • wuwoze
    It is really to rule all carriers.
    Reply
  • TwoDigital
    ...everyone but Verizon, anyway.
    Reply
  • cirdecus
    "This is almost good, here's a thought, let me select my provider, enter my account number and account password and "it just works", really what is the point of a SIM card at all?"

    Because those providers require SIM cards to attached device ID's to your account number. Without them, simple cellular devices wouldn't be able to work. But again, this is a question for the cellular providers, not Apple.

    "Here's another thought, 99% of of (smart)phone hardware is compatible, why cant I dual/triple boot or even select the OS of choice at first boot up?"

    The reason you can't is because you're wrong about 99% of hardware being compatible. The other reason is because hardware manufacturers want you to purchase software from their ecosystem, not the competitors. This is the reason why iOS (an apple software product) is only available with iPhones/iPads (apple hardware products). It's the same reason Samsung won't let you boot into iOS.

    This is simple business. It's like going to Taco Bell and wanting to purchase a Big Mac.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    This is something that's been suggested since the year 2000, carriers just haven't been very receptive to the idea.
    Reply
  • hetneo
    This article lacks the basic information about this SIM card, is it CDMA or GSM. Having there Sprint (CDMA) and AT&T (GSM) thrown together it does create confusion, especially if you keep on mind that those two standards do not mix together and how CDMA works.
    Reply