Last week, Apple unveiled their latest generation tablets to the world. While the iPads didn’t seem to have a lot going for them, there have been a few subtle technologies that came along with them that have gained special attention, one in particular called the Apple SIM.
This is not to say the iPhone-maker wants to start its own carrier – far from it – it’s a new SIM card setting a whole new precedent that allows it to be reprogrammable. Meaning you can setup the Apple SIM to run on multiple carrier networks.
For Instance, if it were present in Zimbabwe you could run the same SIM for Econet and if your network is playing hardball you can easily switch to Telecel, just like you would when switching accounts in say, a Gmail app.
This effectively kills off using a single SIM card exclusively tied to your carrier and it also doubles as a plus for those who can’t help but carry dual-SIMs
This all happened before (sort of)
SIM cards started off as big as credit cards and shrunk in size to what most SIM cards look like today. With the unveiling of the first iPad, Steve Jobs announced that the iPad will have support for micro-SIM only, the closest cousin to the “normal” SIMs we hold on to today.
At first, people were skeptical, questioning who would ever use micro-SIMs
But adoption of micro-SIMs finally took off on both iPads and iPhones and other OEMs started following through, using them in their own smartphones and tablets, the same is happening with nano-SIMs. If you purchase a high–end device from 2012 upwards today, chances are it only supports micro or nano-SIM cards.
For years, Apple been able to disrupt markets that seem too solid or set in stone to be shaken and they have been fortunate enough to set new standards along with it.
The truth with regard to this case is undeniable, I mean if you look around you, multi-touch displays are everywhere (the death of crammed, physical smartphone keyboards and the oh-so-dreadful resistive touch displays), micro-SIM ubiquity in modern smartphones, bringing Gorilla Glass to the mass market and the ilk.
If the “Apple SIM” makes it to the mass market, and if more of these multi-access SIM cards emerge what will this mean to our local MNOs (mobile phone operators)?
The consumers win
And by win I mean win big. Days spent walking around with a bunch of SIM cards, hours spent trying to replace your lost SIM, will give way to a more secure SIM that will finally pull the plug on smartphone theft, a big part of this massive cultural shift.
This evens the playing field, leaving Econet, Telecel and NetOne fighting for anything but subscriber base count. It brings forward fierce competition on offering the best service to consumers, something that POTRAZ has been trying to do lately albeit differently.
But the “Apple SIM” is only supported in the US and if other OEMs jump in on this case it could make for a pretty interesting turn of events. At best, multi-access SIM cards could turn the industry on its head and that future doesn’t look to far off.
Image credit — The Verge, PCmag