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Apple’s new iPad Air 2 SIM explained

Apple’s iPad Air 2 will include a new, preinstalled Apple SIM which will allow users to pick and choose from services offered by multiple partnered service providers (at least in the US for now). But what does this mean for the future of SIMs and service providers?

It’s a pretty simple set-up. You buy your iPad Air 2 from Apple, take it home, then sit down and choose what service provider you wish to buy your data from. At the present only EE is on-board in the UK, so your choices are a little limited, but (hopefully) that will change in the near future. And at least you won’t have to mess around pushing pins into tiny holes, or getting your SIM cut down to size – you just choose and go thanks to the on-board card.

Apple's new SIM allows you to take on temporary contracts with different providers
Apple’s new SIM allows you to take on temporary contracts with different providers

If you’re in the market for new service, you might blanch at the high asking price of an unsubsidised iPad Air 2. But in the long run you could well save money by choosing a short-term deal and, in time, when more carriers sign on the dotted line, we could see a market which is a lot more competitive, with service providers offering better deals and freebies to try and win your heart.

This new addition seems to be the first step on a path to removing carrier-specific SIM cards altogether, something Apple has been keen to do for a long time. It could give users more control over their services, and force service providers to be more competitive. It’s an idea that certainly seems, at face value, to have plenty of scope to improve the way people buy their data services and, in the future, possibly their minutes and texts too, but is it all that it’s cracked up to be?

While progress is usually a good thing, the idea of a manufacturer having total control over who and who can’t provide services to a device is a little disheartening. Up until now you could always pay a fee, have your device unlocked and slap in a new SIM, if your agreement was up and a competitor offered a better price (or if you were having problems with your provider). What might happen in the future though, if there are no SIM card slots and your carrier of choice hasn’t played ball with Apple?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.