SIM cards

Apple Is Trying to Change The Way We Use SIM Cards, Again

October 17, 2014 - Written By Nick Terry

There is something about Apple that not many people pay attention to or notice, even people in the tech industry seem to overlook this aspect of Apple most of the time. That aspect is Apple’s huge influence on what happens next with SIM cards. Ever since the original iPhone was released, with its little fragile SIM card tray that could only be accessed by using a paper clip or a special “SIM removal tool”, something that was considered crazy at the time is now a regular thing. Just look at almost any smartphone on the market today and we guarantee you that it will have the same little fragile SIM card tray.

After Apple changed the way we, as consumers, and carriers used SIM cards with the first iPhone, they didn’t stop. Apple did it again in 2010 with the release of the original iPad, it came with a 3FF on board, more commonly known as a micro-SIM card. Apple did nobody any favors by introducing the micro-SIM either, it caused major pains for people who wanted to pop their existing SIM cards into their new iPad but couldn’t due to it being too large. Yet, slowly and painfully, over the course of just over a year, carriers adapted to Apples change by selling micro-SIMs and making them standard in smartphones.

But wait there’s more! Yes, Apple did not stop there, fast forward to 2012 when Apple introduced the iPhone 5 to the world. Can you guess what type of SIM card apple shipped with the device? Not a micro-SIM, oh no, Apple took it a step further with the nano-SIM, the type of SIM card that most smartphones, including iPhone’s and iPad’s use today. Of course, just as before, the carriers were essentially forced to follow suite and start using and selling nano-SIMs.

Now, here we are today, literally today, when just earlier, Apple introduced the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. Apple made another bold move with SIM cards by putting reprogrammable SIM cards in both of the new devices. These reprogrammable SIM cards allow the user to take the SIM card from carrier to carrier, easily switching networks, Apple is calling this new type of SIM “Apple SIM.” As of now three of the four major carriers are on board with Apples new SIM card type. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile all support the new “Apple SIM”.

So what does this new reprogrammable SIM card mean for the future of SIM cards? From a consumer point of view it means something awesome. Eventually most smartphones will use this new type of SIM and it will allow the customer to easily switch carriers and keep the same SIM card. This would eliminate a huge painpoint of switching carriers and make it a lot easier for people to change carriers that may not be working out for them. Hell, this may even mean the death of the SIM card a few years down the road. We can dream can’t we?