After a slightly underwhelming Apple event yesterday, many people concluded that the most exciting thing to come out of it was an unannounced special SIM with support for multiple carriers on one card. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to burst that bubble of excitement too – this concept isn’t close to being new.
In fact, it’s been around for years – particularly in growing markets like Pakistan and India. See, you can buy a “2008 Edition 6-Number-in-1 Multi-Operator Magic-SIM with Card Cloning Software and USB Reader” for just $11.50. All you do is load the data/numbers from your existing normal SIM cards onto the “magic” one and you have multiple network options in one.
Admittedly, Apple’s answer – which allows you to switch between operators and buy data virtually without moving a muscle, let alone manually set up the SIM – is a lot more straightforward and simple, which is why it’ll likely gain consumer support in developed countries for the first time.
There’s also one other key difference between a random gadget maker pumping out magic SIMs and Apple signing deals with specific operators around the world – it gives Apple considerable leverage over networks if they want to be on that list. Right now, it’s just a handful of big names in the US and one in the UK, but I’d expect this to grow. Short term contracts don’t really work in the networks’ favor, but Apple has such a massive device user base, it’s probably still in their interest to play along.
What has previously existed before, Apple will once again bring to the masses.