Carrier This Apple sim, will it affect my use of cheap disposable sims off Amazon?

yegon

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Original poster
Oct 20, 2007
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I use £15 6gb 90 day EE sims off Amazon in my iPad. Will this still even be possible with this new embedded sim? I've no desire for an iPad data contract, 6gb easily lasts me 3 months and I've no qualms paying £5 a month in this manner. I don't want or need any more data, if I want to do heavy stuff like a lengthy streaming session I tether to my phone which is unlimited.
 

jcborden

macrumors regular
Mar 20, 2012
126
47
The Apple SIM is embedded, it's in onboard programmable SIM so I think it wil mean the end of cheap data deals that have been available from the likes of ebay and Amazon. That is unless EE (in the UK) put out some great data deals for iPad Air 2 users. The problem is the current lack of competition until Apple sign up more carriers.
 

DoofenshmirtzEI

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
654
489
The Apple SIM is embedded, it's in onboard programmable SIM so I think it wil mean the end of cheap data deals that have been available from the likes of ebay and Amazon. That is unless EE (in the UK) put out some great data deals for iPad Air 2 users. The problem is the current lack of competition until Apple sign up more carriers.
Um, no, I don't know where you got that from, but you can certainly use an alternate SIM if you want, in fact, if you want to use Verizon in the US, you have to.
 

yegon

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 20, 2007
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Um, no, I don't know where you got that from, but you can certainly use an alternate SIM if you want, in fact, if you want to use Verizon in the US, you have to.
I hope you're correct. I'm really not clear on this, hence why I started this thread. I've looked at the images and I can't see where the sim slot is. Equally, I've read around and not found a definitive answer, with most info pointing toward it actually being embedded.

Again, I still don't know either way and am not saying either of you are wrong.
 

DoofenshmirtzEI

macrumors 6502a
Mar 1, 2011
654
489
From http://store.apple.com/us/buy-ipad/ipad-air-2

Do all iPad models use the same type of SIM card?
No. iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular and iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi + Cellular can use either the Apple SIM card or a carrier-supported nano-SIM card. iPad Air, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini use a nano-SIM card. All other iPad models use a micro-SIM card. Micro-SIM cards cannot be used in devices that use the Apple SIM or another nano-SIM card.
You'll only see a SIM card slot on an iPad with cellular. If the pic was of a wifi-only iPad, there wouldn't be a SIM card slot.

I'm sure that Apple would love to do away with the SIM card and its slot and go with an embedded SIM, but if the carriers were happy to sell cheap data SIMs before, I'm sure they will be happy to sell cheap data "virtual" SIMs (that you load onto the embedded SIM) in the future.
 

yegon

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Oct 20, 2007
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From http://store.apple.com/us/buy-ipad/ipad-air-2



You'll only see a SIM card slot on an iPad with cellular. If the pic was of a wifi-only iPad, there wouldn't be a SIM card slot.
D'OH! Can't believe this didn't occur to me, every iPad I've bought has been cellular and I was already aware they rarely use cellular iPads in publicity shots, probably due to the less attractive plastic band. Very silly of me :)

Anyway, thanks for putting my mind at rest!
 

AdonisSMU

macrumors 604
Oct 23, 2010
6,569
2,133
From http://store.apple.com/us/buy-ipad/ipad-air-2



You'll only see a SIM card slot on an iPad with cellular. If the pic was of a wifi-only iPad, there wouldn't be a SIM card slot.

I'm sure that Apple would love to do away with the SIM card and its slot and go with an embedded SIM, but if the carriers were happy to sell cheap data SIMs before, I'm sure they will be happy to sell cheap data "virtual" SIMs (that you load onto the embedded SIM) in the future.
Exactly. Im sure Apple would love to support them.
 

aneftp

macrumors 601
Jul 28, 2007
4,247
463
Very good article about Apple's motive with Apple sim

http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/16/6990525/the-sim-card-is-about-to-die

Apple has gotten its own way with microsim and than nano sim. Eventually they will kill off the sim card for their iphone and iPad altogether
 

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
3,506
600
Very good article about Apple's motive with Apple sim

http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/16/6990525/the-sim-card-is-about-to-die

Apple has gotten its own way with microsim and than nano sim. Eventually they will kill off the sim card for their iphone and iPad altogether
IMO that's a good thing - I find sim cards annoying.

Why can't I just call my carrier and say "Yo! I'm now using the phone xxxxxxxxxx" and have my service switch over. I just find the SIM to be such an antiquated idea, which is practically unchanged in what - 20 years?
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
4,741
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San Jose, CA
Very good article about Apple's motive with Apple sim

http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/16/6990525/the-sim-card-is-about-to-die

Apple has gotten its own way with microsim and than nano sim. Eventually they will kill off the sim card for their iphone and iPad altogether
Unfortunately this article is complete nonsense. The Apple SIM is not a special kind of "reprogrammable SIM" as the author claims. It's just a normal SIM like any other. Apple (or a 3rd party they are working with) is acting as an MVNO that has contracts and roaming agreements with a number of carriers, similar to what companies like Tracfone have been doing for years.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,830
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Unfortunately this article is complete nonsense. The Apple SIM is not a special kind of "reprogrammable SIM" as the author claims. It's just a normal SIM like any other. Apple (or a 3rd party they are working with) is acting as an MVNO that has contracts and roaming agreements with a number of carriers, similar to what companies like Tracfone have been doing for years.
Now you are spouting nonsense.

Apple is not acting as an MVNO. If that were the case it would need to contract with 3 U.S. carriers for service. The Apple SIM is just a SIM that can be read by any of the participating carriers. The user is not getting a rebranded data service and is billed by the mainline carrier, each of which set their respective rates, not Apple. If Apple was acting as an MVNO it would own the bandwidth purchased from the carriers and price it as it wishes.
 

617aircav

Suspended
Jul 2, 2012
3,974
815
Unfortunately this article is complete nonsense. The Apple SIM is not a special kind of "reprogrammable SIM" as the author claims. It's just a normal SIM like any other. Apple (or a 3rd party they are working with) is acting as an MVNO that has contracts and roaming agreements with a number of carriers, similar to what companies like Tracfone have been doing for years.

Where did you get this from because it certainly didn't come from Apple.
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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Where did you get this from because it certainly didn't come from Apple.
My job requires me to know how mobile networks work. There are no "blank SIMs". Every SIM has an IMSI which includes an identifier of the subscriber's home network (MCC + MNC). This is not reprogrammable. The only way to implement what the Apple SIM is doing is by having roaming agreements in place between whatever home network Apple is using and the participating carriers.
 

terraphantm

macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2009
3,678
507
Pennsylvania
My job requires me to know how mobile networks work. There are no "blank SIMs". Every SIM has an IMSI which includes an identifier of the subscriber's home network (MCC + MNC). This is not reprogrammable. The only way to implement what the Apple SIM is doing is by having roaming agreements in place between whatever home network Apple is using and the participating carriers.
It could be a non-standard SIM where the IMSI is selectable based on commands it receives from the iPad.
 

Rigby

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Aug 5, 2008
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It could be a non-standard SIM where the IMSI is selectable based on commands it receives from the iPad.
That would be a violation of the 3GPP standards, and the iPad would not be approved to access GSM-based networks. Not to mention that a software-programmable IMSI would be a big security risk.

I don't get why people think Apple had to invent a "magic SIM" for this. Global SIMs for business travelers that work just like the Apple SIM have been around for a long time. The only new things are the business contracts that Apple has made with the carriers and a UI for activiating the SIM directly on the iPad.

In the end, it doesn't change much from a customer perspective since you could always easily switch carriers on the iPad. It's just getting a bit more convenient, since you don't have to obtain physical SIMs for the participating carriers anymore. This would be very handy particularly for international travel, since it's not always easy to find and obtain a suitable local SIM.

But we'll all see how it works next week. :p
 

jmmo20

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2006
1,122
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No, it would not.
There are a few carriers out there with multiple IMSI numbers on one chip.
An example is ToggleMobile.. a EU carrier. Their SIMS are programmable and you can add IMSI pairs from a number of EU countries. When you visit those countries, the "local" IMSI with a local number activates. If you are in an unsupported country, the "main" IMSI will activate on roaming mode.

On their backend they also handle diversions, so no matter what IMSI is active, you get incoming calls made to any of your main or local numbers.

An Apple SIM would only require
a) encryption strong enough so that operators/carriers trust Apple
and
b) that said carriers give up their IMSI/Ki keys to Apple so they can program them in their apple sim.



That would be a violation of the 3GPP standards, and the iPad would not be approved to access GSM-based networks. Not to mention that a software-programmable IMSI would be a big security risk.

I don't get why people think Apple had to invent a "magic SIM" for this. Global SIMs for business travelers that work just like the Apple SIM have been around for a long time. The only new things are the business contracts that Apple has made with the carriers and a UI for activiating the SIM directly on the iPad.

In the end, it doesn't change much from a customer perspective since you could always easily switch carriers on the iPad. It's just getting a bit more convenient, since you don't have to obtain physical SIMs for the participating carriers anymore. This would be very handy particularly for international travel, since it's not always easy to find and obtain a suitable local SIM.

But we'll all see how it works next week. :p
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
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San Jose, CA
No, it would not.
There are a few carriers out there with multiple IMSI numbers on one chip.
Yes, but the IMSIs on Multi-IMSI SIM cards are not software-programmable. They are provisioned at the time of manufacturing. You can then switch between IMSIs using a SIM Toolkit application.

The problem is that you cannot add more IMSIs once the SIM is in the hands of the customer. For that reason, I think it's unlikely that Apple used that solution (because it would not allow them to expand the list of participating partners later).
 

jmmo20

macrumors 65816
Jun 15, 2006
1,122
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Yes, but the IMSIs on Multi-IMSI SIM cards are not software-programmable. They are provisioned at the time of manufacturing. You can then switch between IMSIs using a SIM Toolkit application.

The problem is that you cannot add more IMSIs once the SIM is in the hands of the customer. For that reason, I think it's unlikely that Apple used that solution (because it would not allow them to expand the list of participating partners later).

In this particular example new IMSIs are added over SMS..
once you have used 9 slots, customer services need to send a "wipe" command so that you can add an additional IMSI. They have also added new countries since they launched, so by your logic that would have never been possible.