Apple makes the move to embedded SIM card with 9.7" iPad Pro

Posted:
in iPhone
The ritual of swapping SIM cards may soon be a relic of the past, as the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro ships with an important innovation: an Apple SIM embedded directly into the logic board.




The Apple SIM was introduced in 2014, and its premise is simple. Using a single SIM card, iPad buyers can pick and choose data service -- with no contracts -- from any participating wireless carrier around the world.

It launched with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S. along with EE in the UK. That list has gradually expanded and now counts 8 carriers or MVNOs that offer service in more than 90 countries around the world.

Each of Apple's current iPad models can be purchased with the Apple SIM preinstalled, but only in a handful of locales. That will change with the newly launched 9.7-inch iPad Pro -- the embedded SIM means that every one of those tablets produced has the Apple SIM built in from the beginning.

While Apple does caution that the embedded Apple SIM may be disabled or locked if you purchase your 9.7-inch iPad Pro from a carrier, buying it directly from Apple will enable quick connectivity almost anywhere.

Apple has been laying the groundwork for embedded SIMs for years. The smoke turned into fire last July, with reports that the iPhone maker had teamed up with Samsung to push the "e-SIM" standard forward.

That collaboration, which also included many of the world's major wireless carriers, has borne its first fruit in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. While there's no word yet on whether the new embedded Apple SIM might move down the company's product range -- perhaps into the "iPhone 7" -- it could happen sooner, rather than later.

Embedded SIMs could also go a long way in saving space in smaller devices, which would be a particularly significant benefit if and when Apple plans to add cellular data connectivity to its wearable Apple Watch.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 430member
    With AT&T's insistence, this is bad. AT&T loves to lock the SIMs into the AT&T network. Then one can't use it overseas nor with other carriers. Just hope AT&T will change their insistence on locking the SIMs. Sometimes I'm in areas thats only covered by AT&T.
    RealDavidGurney
  • Reply 2 of 14
    xixoxixo Posts: 422member
    macseeker said:
    With AT&T's insistence, this is bad. AT&T loves to lock the SIMs into the AT&T network. Then one can't use it overseas nor with other carriers. Just hope AT&T will change their insistence on locking the SIMs. Sometimes I'm in areas thats only covered by AT&T.
    exactly. the discount telcos will be the last to support this feature. 

    no more buying a $25 sim overseas to avoid the overcharges for data roaming on big carriers 

    RealDavidGurney
  • Reply 3 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,028member
    macseeker said:
    With AT&T's insistence, this is bad. AT&T loves to lock the SIMs into the AT&T network. Then one can't use it overseas nor with other carriers. Just hope AT&T will change their insistence on locking the SIMs. Sometimes I'm in areas thats only covered by AT&T.
    From what Apple says, carriers can disable the embedded SIM if they are selling it but until I see something from Apple that says the user controls the locking and unlocking of the embedded SIM when bought directly from Apple I'll withhold judgment. 
    RealDavidGurney
  • Reply 4 of 14
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 430member
    I just notice that Apple released two versions of the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, one version the Model A1675 uses the regular removable Apple SIM. The model A1674 uses the embedded SIM. Ref: http://www.apple.com/ipad/LTE/#ipad-pro-9-7
    daren_mitchell
  • Reply 5 of 14
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 195member
    So to swap the SIM, you'll need to buy that Liam robot Apple uses to disassemble iPhones for recycling.
    edited March 2016 razorpitcash907censored
  • Reply 6 of 14
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,958member
    Isn't the idea of embedded SIM to replace physical SIM card and on top provides flexibility of switching cell carrier at wish especially while traveling ? Thought, going forward, Apple,Samsung working together on embedded sim standard will produce their phones and tablets with embedded sim. Suppose iphone 7 is next.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 7 of 14
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 438member
    macseeker said:
    I just notice that Apple released two versions of the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, one version the Model A1675 uses the regular removable Apple SIM. The model A1674 uses the embedded SIM. Ref: http://www.apple.com/ipad/LTE/#ipad-pro-9-7
    Thanks for this info.  I have the Apple SIM in my Air2 but none of the international carriers (Canada) seemed to use it.  I would be very leery of getting ONLY a built in Apple SIM as that could limit ability to purchase international low cost, throw away SIM's when traveling.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,787member
    emoeller said:

    I have the Apple SIM in my Air2 but none of the international carriers (Canada) seemed to use it.  I would be very leery of getting ONLY a built in Apple SIM as that could limit ability to purchase international low cost, throw away SIM's when traveling.
    I have noticed in my travels that most international carriers outside of the US allow iPhone hotspot without additional charge. Of course you need an unlocked iPhone to use a local sim. I also have a separate wifi hotspot. There are several on the market, just make sure it is unlocked and supports the cellular bands that are in use where you plan to travel. Some of the best ones are made by Huawei ranging from $60 to $250.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 9 of 14
    macseeker said:
    With AT&T's insistence, this is bad. AT&T loves to lock the SIMs into the AT&T network. Then one can't use it overseas nor with other carriers. Just hope AT&T will change their insistence on locking the SIMs. Sometimes I'm in areas thats only covered by AT&T.
    If you buy your phone from any carrier on contract, it's going to be locked. If you pay off the phone completely either early or through regular installments, they will unlock your device in about five minutes. If you are traveling oversees, you can request your carrier to unlock your device as well. I've done this twice with a 4S and 6 while traveling abroad, and all it took was emailing a copy of my airline tickets to a service rep to prove I was in fact traveling abroad. Wasn't a big deal. 
  • Reply 10 of 14

    macseeker said:
    I just notice that Apple released two versions of the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, one version the Model A1675 uses the regular removable Apple SIM. The model A1674 uses the embedded SIM. Ref: http://www.apple.com/ipad/LTE/#ipad-pro-9-7
    It was my understanding that the unit going on sale in the US next week will have an embedded Apple SIM but also the standard removable SIM tray as well. 
  • Reply 11 of 14
    What's the point of carriers locking devices?  If the service is cancelled before the contract or device is paid off, the carrier could just charge an early termination fee to recoup the cost, right?
    robertwalter
  • Reply 12 of 14
    teedeeteedee Posts: 10member
    Blaster said:
    What's the point of carriers locking devices?  If the service is cancelled before the contract or device is paid off, the carrier could just charge an early termination fee to recoup the cost, right?
    Exactly. That's why in my country Singapore, the carriers don't lock the devices. You can buy a device from a particular carrier and put any SIM card into it.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    If you buy your phone from any carrier on contract, it's going to be locked.
    Which is exactly BACKWARD and indefensible. You're under contract, so you have to pay your bill whether you're using their network or not. It's GOOD for them if you take your phone elsewhere, because you'll be paying for service you aren't using.

    Americans put up with this horseshit.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    macseeker said:
    With AT&T's insistence, this is bad. AT&T loves to lock the SIMs into the AT&T network. Then one can't use it overseas nor with other carriers. Just hope AT&T will change their insistence on locking the SIMs. Sometimes I'm in areas thats only covered by AT&T.
    If you buy your phone from any carrier on contract, it's going to be locked. If you pay off the phone completely either early or through regular installments, they will unlock your device in about five minutes. If you are traveling oversees, you can request your carrier to unlock your device as well. I've done this twice with a 4S and 6 while traveling abroad, and all it took was emailing a copy of my airline tickets to a service rep to prove I was in fact traveling abroad. Wasn't a big deal. 
    My understanding from the previous apple sim was that AT&T locked the apple sim to serve ONLY as an AT&T sim if you ever selected AT&T (no longer allowing you to switch to another carrier unless you replaced the SIM card). This is different from locking the device to only accept AT&T SIM cards. Particularly if the sim were now built in, you could switch freely between carriers as needed, until you picked AT&T, then you couldn't switch ever again. I'm guessing apple put a stop to this. If not, it had better be VERY clearly stated somehow that if you select AT&T, you won't be able to switch back.
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