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Apple developing open SIM for iPhone service, RFID sales

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Apple is reportedly working with chip manufacturer Gemalto to deliver an iPhone SIM card capable of working with multiple carriers, allowing users to shop for mobile service directly from the Apple Store. The deal likely also involves authentication for contactless, RFID mobile transactions.

According to a report by Gigaom, the codeveloped SIM would be integrated into future iPhones to enable users to activate service without having to call or visit a mobile carrier after purchasing their phone.

Instead, users will be able to shop for service from competing carriers right as they purchase their phone. Currently, users must set up a contract with and obtain a special, carrier-specific (and carrier-locked) SIM card from a given provider after they purchase their iPhone.

The new Gemalto SIM, the report notes, "is embedded in a chip that has an upgradeable flash component and a ROM area. The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information. The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network."

In addition to saving iPhone customers the step of having to visit a mobile provider to obtain a carrier-specific SIM, a programable SIM could also enable users to roam across regions and obtain service without requiring a unique SIM for each different location.

Open SIM, contactless transactions

While observers have hailed the concept as a way for Apple to open up the market for phone service to increased competition, a larger aspect of the reported Gemalto-Apple partnership is likely to involve NFC (near field communications), a technology that enables users to authenticate themselves with electronic terminals in order to make retail purchases, obtain tickets, and perform other transactions using RFID (radio frequency identification).

Gemalto already operates as a Trusted Server Manager to facilitate secure, contactless purchases using NFC technology. Additionally, Apple has already filed patents and hired a product manager, and has reportedly started testing prototypes of iPhones using NFC features.

Working with an established NFC expert to deliver a SIM-based way to make contactless transactions from iPhones could quickly establish Apple as a major player in handling secure authentication for convenient retail transactions. Tied into iAd, such a position would enable Apple to woo advertisers with the prospect of immediately translating marketing opportunities in to sales.
post #2 of 34
Steve Jobs next target is to replace your wallet.

That and to create your next virtual business office server in the new cloud. Oh, and your hard drive too.

But the wallet is next in the consumer line. And wait til he figures out how to eliminate your keys.
post #3 of 34
I can see Apple building this in... supporting all GSM carriers and CDMA to boot, then sell it to the world. Boom. One true world phone. The good thing about a permanent SIM is a thief may not be able to use the phone... making them less of a target.
2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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2011 13" 2.3 MBP, 2006 15" 2.16 MBP, iPhone 4, iPod Shuffle, AEBS, AppleTV2 with XBMC.
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post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by 801 View Post

Steve Jobs next target is to replace your wallet.

That and to create your next virtual business office server in the new cloud. Oh, and your hard drive too.

But the wallet is next in the consumer line. And wait til he figures out how to eliminate your keys.

Yeah, but there will be enough Luddites and other scared people to delay this implementation at least another five to ten years.
post #5 of 34
Did I read this correctly....Apple is going to have chips in the iPhone so you can shop for the cheapest cell service, month to month?

Or is just a way to spend money using your iPhone instead of a credit/debit card?

Oh well...I would like cell phone coverage to be "commoditized."

I'm paying $120/mo...way too much! I think I will switch to a dumb phone and an Wifi iPad!
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by 801 View Post

Steve Jobs next target is to replace your wallet.

That and to create your next virtual business office server in the new cloud. Oh, and your hard drive too.

But the wallet is next in the consumer line. And wait til he figures out how to eliminate your keys.

The wallet has already been done. The Japanese call it "osaifu keitai" (literally "wallet phone"). They wave their phones over sensors as transit passes, buying event tickets, boarding passes, paying for groceries, as loyalty ("club") cards, etc. They've been doing it for about five years.

You could use the same NFC contactless system as a key, however the locks are generally too expensive except in commercial/industrial applications. Companies have been using key cards for decades.

The first practical application as an electronic key from a consumer standpoint would probably be your car. Quite a few luxury autos now have keyless wireless fobs.
post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8corewhore View Post

i can see apple building this in... Supporting all gsm carriers and cdma to boot, then sell it to the world. Boom. One true world phone. The good thing about a permanent sim is a thief may not be able to use the phone... Making them less of a target.

world phone by apple
yes
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #8 of 34
So Apple is trying to do what Google failed to do with the Nexus ?

1. Apple wants you to go to their Apple Store web site
2. Select which model you want
3. Select color (in the future)
4. Select how much GB you want
5. Choose a carrier
6. Pick a plan
7. Confirm purchase
post #9 of 34
"Tied into iAd, such a position would enable Apple to woo advertisers with the prospect of immediately translating marketing opportunities in to sales."

Wow! Now I call that thinking outside the dodecahedron.
post #10 of 34
Tied into iAd? Yuck. Let me buy a ticket and then leave me alone. I want my next purchase to be my decision.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgl323 View Post

So Apple is trying to do what Google failed to do with the Nexus ?

1. Apple wants you to go to their Apple Store web site
2. Select which model you want
3. Select color (in the future)
4. Select how much GB you want
5. Choose a carrier
6. Pick a plan
7. Confirm purchase



Why not kill the carriers?
I am waiting.
post #12 of 34
wow, this is going to be huge... world phone would be much better as when we are travelling we no need to buy a new sim just activate the local number... amazing, can't wait to actually see it happen...

my way or the highway...

Macbook Pro i7 13" with intel SSD 320 series and 8GB RAM, iPhone 5, iPad 3 (Retina)

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my way or the highway...

Macbook Pro i7 13" with intel SSD 320 series and 8GB RAM, iPhone 5, iPad 3 (Retina)

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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Instead, users will be able to shop for service from competing carriers right as they purchase their phone. Currently, users must set up a contract with and obtain a special, carrier-specific (and carrier-locked) SIM card from a given provider after they purchase their iPhone.

Why would AT&T go along with this, unless there was a way for them to permalock the phone at activation?
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I'm paying $120/mo...way too much! I think I will switch to a dumb phone and an Wifi iPad!

I just cancelled my iPhone service and switched to an iPod Touch with Skype. It costs $4/month with my own phone number. Only downside is the lack of an ear speaker on the iPod, which means I need an iPhone headset.
post #15 of 34
NFC is being built into SIM cards, not the phone itself, so they can provide this functionality for every iPhone ever sold. You sure don't want to buy a new phone just to get a new "gimmick" electronic payment system, but if it's just a new SIM, why not? With this strategy, Apple will get every iPhone/iPod touch user on board, which would actually be a pretty big number. Enough to convince other companies to start building NFC hardware into their turnstiles/vending machines etc. So this is smart.

Of course, other phones will be able to use this infrastructure as well. So, using its market weight, Apple will be the final "straw" to bring NFC to terminals all over the world, not just Japan.
post #16 of 34
Would be so cool if Apple can patent this world phone on a SIM concept so tightly that no one else can copy it. Huge advantage, whether in licensing fees or market share.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakovlev View Post

NFC is being built into SIM cards, not the phone itself, so they can provide this functionality for every iPhone ever sold. You sure don't want to buy a new phone just to get a new "gimmick" electronic payment system, but if it's just a new SIM, why not? With this strategy, Apple will get every iPhone/iPod touch user on board, which would actually be a pretty big number. Enough to convince other companies to start building NFC hardware into their turnstiles/vending machines etc. So this is smart.

Of course, other phones will be able to use this infrastructure as well. So, using its market weight, Apple will be the final "straw" to bring NFC to terminals all over the world, not just Japan.

Sounds great, but I didn't think the iPod Touch had a SIM card?
I would be keen been for this functionality in the iPhone though!
..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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post #18 of 34
I hope they can get this done.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Tied into iAd? Yuck. Let me buy a ticket and then leave me alone. I want my next purchase to be my decision.

meh, the iAds will help people make an informed decision and keep up with the latest deals. You can always ignore them if you've already done your research.
"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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"We're Apple. We don't wear suits. We don't even own suits."
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post #20 of 34
Pffft! Android had this years ago.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In addition to saving iPhone customers the step of having to visit a mobile provider to obtain a carrier-specific SIM, a programable SIM could also enable users to roam across regions and obtain service without requiring a unique SIM for each different location.

It would be a major benefit for frequent travellers if you could use an iPhone/iPad app to locate the local service provider and purchase PAYG call/data credit without having to switch the sim card.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutykamu View Post

wow, this is going to be huge... world phone would be much better as when we are travelling we no need to buy a new sim just activate the local number... amazing, can't wait to actually see it happen...

This is BAD, and anti consumer!

The idea is not to eliminate the "need" to buy a new sim, it is to PREVENT the ability to buy a new sim. Even with a factory "unlocked" iPhone, Apple will be able to control which carriers it will enable your phone to work with and you can bet your ass there will be restrictions. Perhaps if you have a US iPhone and iTunes account you will only be able to enable the phone for one of the 4 US carriers. You want to travel in Europe? No problem, pay an approved carrier for an international roaming plan that is only a few hundred percent more expensive than a local sim.

This will give Apple more leverage with the carriers because even in countries where the phones are "unlocked" a carrier will have to play nice with Apple to get their netwrok in the iTunes store. They may even have to share revenue with Apple, and if that is the case, expect them to pass higher costs on to iPhone owners.

Yes, I can't wait to see this happen.
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

Why would AT&T go along with this, unless there was a way for them to permalock the phone at activation?

Because if there is no sim to switch, consumers will only be able to leave AT&T with Apples consent and assitance, and AT&T can negotiate with Apple on what assitance you get and when. This has its plusses and minusses for the carriers, but the consumer will be the loser.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

It would be a major benefit for frequent travellers if you could use an iPhone/iPad app to locate the local service provider and purchase PAYG call/data credit without having to switch the sim card.

Assuming you could choose any local service provider and the rates were as good as those available to everyone else, you would be correct. That does not fit with Apple's history and business model though. Think restricted options and a 70/30 split between the carriers and Apple, with prices higher than those offered through other sales channels to make up for the 30% overhead.
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Did I read this correctly....Apple is going to have chips in the iPhone so you can shop for the cheapest cell service, month to month?

I think, in a way yes, but not so much different than today. In markets with multiple compatible carriers, Apple already sells this way. You can buy an unlocked phone at full price and shop around for the best plan from the carriers. But you pay full price for the phone. I expect, that if they introduced this programmable on the fly integrated SIM, that it would work the same say. The only difference from a consumer point of view is that with the current model, whenever you change carriers with your unlocked phone, you need to acquire a new carrier SIM, where you wouldn't with this new design.

For locked models, again it would work the same, the phone IMEI number would be registered with Apple as a locked unit, either to a specific carrier or would lock to a carrier on activation. This is basically how they work now too. Here in Canada 2 or the 5 carriers are owned by the same company and run on the same network but have two different carrier ID's. There have been reports that if you bought a phone from one and immediately inserted a SIM from the other, that it would lock to the send carrier. Not sure if that is in fact the case, but multiple people reported it.

It seems that all this new design would do is allow customers to activate on their carrier without having to acquire and insert a SIM. Big deal. For unlocked units, you could change carriers without a new SIM too. I don't see the bug difference from today. In fact, with SIMs, swapping lines with unlocked units is as easy as swapping your SIM. If you have multiple lines (with one or multiple carriers), how would you swap between then, on the fly, with this new design? Would you have to connect to a PC/Mac every times you want to change accounts?

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
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post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemikeb View Post

Why would AT&T go along with this, unless there was a way for them to permalock the phone at activation?

No different than now for AT&T. Today, you buy your phone and it is locked to AT&T. With this new design, you buy your phone and it is locked to AT&T. It is just a matter of how you get onto their network. Today, you get a SIM and activate it. With the new design, you connect to your PC/Mac and activate the built-in chip.

Edit: just saw AIAddict's response and yes, I would agree, it would make it even more difficult to jailbreak and unlock and use on another carrier, because "The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network." Since it gets activated over the network from what is essentially a third party, Apple controlled authorization server, if it isn't authorized, it does get activated on another network.

There doesn't seem to be any advantage for the consumer with this change, other than the convenience of not having to pop in a SIM. But for the carriers, they save on having to provide SIMs and perhaps get an iPhone that is more tightly locked to their networks.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cutykamu View Post

wow, this is going to be huge... world phone would be much better as when we are travelling we no need to buy a new sim just activate the local number... amazing, can't wait to actually see it happen...

Probably not. Your phone will still be locked to AT&T, just as it is now. The fact is, that you will NOT be able to just buy a new SIM in another country and pop it in. Even if your phone is factory unlocked, if the activation has to go through Apple, you might only be able to activate on an Apple Approved 3G network. If your phone is jailbroken and unlocked, I can't see AT&T's contract with Apple allowing them to activate your phone on another network without their permissions (i.e. they gotta get paid).

For the same reason Apple sells carrier locked phones now and will not unlock it at your request to use on other networks, they will now simply allow you to activate your future locked phone on another network either. Just because the SIM will be integrated and programmable on the fly to use a specific network doesn't mean they are going to stop locking the phones.

I would love it if they did. Remember how disruptive the original iPhone was to the wireless business model? Imagine if Apple really decided to disrupt the industry and only sold unlocked phones or phones that automatically unlocked when the original contract term expired. This would bring fairness to the industry, where you are locked to your carrier by a contract you agreed to, instead by a technical lock that artificially binds you to the carrier even after the subsidy is repaid and the contract expired. The carriers would never go for this, but maybe since Apple has now achieved the status they have in the industry, they could get away with it. No one else could and it would take balls the size of mountains for Apple to try.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #28 of 34
Such uniformity would certainly help to keep their manufacturing process clean & simple. Very profitable & smart idea
post #29 of 34
Apple is truly just trying to unify everything.

The Carrier method will continue for a while longer. But Apple knows where things are heading.
With LTE flaring up here soon and across the world later. Supposedly data will be able to fly at greater speeds.

We already know that Skype is upgrading their system and along with that so will Fring and the other VOIP providers.
But Apple will start becoming more appealing because of the greater acceptance of FaceTime.
Once that gets on board Microsoft phones. And you know very well ALL Android phones will also have FaceTime. (Google wants all of Apple's apps on their system).

Once the world starts going HEAVY on this type of calling, they will finally be turned into dunb pipes for sure.

Can't wait for the day.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroG View Post

Such uniformity would certainly help to keep their manufacturing process clean & simple. Very profitable & smart idea

You realize that profits for Apple are expenses for you and me, right?
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by yakovlev View Post

NFC is being built into SIM cards, not the phone itself, so they can provide this functionality for every iPhone ever sold.

NFC is still being battle it out --- everybody wants a cut (the banks, the carriers, the handset manufacturers, the SIM card manufacturers...).
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AIaddict View Post

Because if there is no sim to switch, consumers will only be able to leave AT&T with Apples consent and assitance, and AT&T can negotiate with Apple on what assitance you get and when. This has its plusses and minusses for the carriers, but the consumer will be the loser.

The "consumer" always loses. Hence the term "consumer" rather than "customer."
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by juandl View Post

But Apple will start becoming more appealing because of the greater acceptance of FaceTime.

HUH? How can you even mention the acceptance of FaceTime in the same breath as Skype? What is the usage ratio of the two services right now? 1,000,000 to 1 or is it more like 10,000,000 to one? FaceTime is for all intents and purposes, still in an early beta phase. It is not even an option for more than 90% of the worlds mobile device owners or computer owners. Most of the people who do have Facetime on one of their devices rarely if ever use it. Maybe it will grow in the next 18-24 months to the point that it is relevant enough to be in the conversation, but for now it is not exactly tearing up the industry.

Quote:
Once that gets on board Microsoft phones. And you know very well ALL Android phones will also have FaceTime. (Google wants all of Apple's apps on their system).

Yes, because Microsoft is a major player in the phone market these days, and everyone will have FaceTime now that Apple made the specs public like promissed...Oh wait...where is the link to the specs again?

For now NO Android phones have FaceTime. No Symbian phones, no Blackberry phones, no Palm phones, no Microsoft phones, no tablet devices, no linux devices, and no Windows devices either. 3 months in and no one has written even a basic Facetime app for any non-Apple device, and in fact no one has announced that they are working on one or even planning to.
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

You realize that profits for Apple are expenses for you and me, right?

Yes, and since Steve refuses to pay out any of the cash horde in dividends, the profits don't even go to the shreholders either. Great system as long as they can get away with it huh?
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