Apple SIM could accelerate wireless industry disruption

A multi-operator capable SIM card included in Apple’s latest iPad range will give consumers the flexibility to switch between short-term plans with operators in the UK and USA. So far, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and UK operator EE have confirmed participation with the initiative.

Announced alongside the new models, including the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, ‘Apple SIM’ will also enable users to choose a data plan from local operators when travelling abroad.

As a consequence, it is likely that intercontinental roaming between the US and the UK will be made cheaper and more manageable for customers of the participating operators. Apple claims that operators participating with Apple SIM may change, hinting at the future inclusion of markets outside the UK and US.

At Apple’s announcement event in California, the company also confirmed that Apple Pay will be arriving on Monday 20th October. As originally reported by in September, Apple Pay will feature NFC technology to make mobile payments, authorised through fingerprint scanning via the home button. Starbucks, Ticketmaster, Uber and Groupon are among the high profile retailers already signed up.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, is excited by the prospect of mobile payments really taking off, citing the momentum being generated around Apple Pay.

“The reaction to Apple Pay has been amazing,” he said. “We continue to add more Apple Pay ready banks, credit card companies and merchants, and think our users will love paying with Apple Pay.”

The new iPad range will also support Apple Pay’s Touch ID feature within applications, presumably in an effort to minimise the risk of in-app purchasing mishaps.

However, Ernest Doku from market comparison website believes that it’s time for a big leap forward in tablet functionality and features in order for Apple to entice existing tablet owners to upgrade.

“One problem Apple faces is that, without a finite network contract to concentrate their minds, tablet owners need more persuading to upgrade than phone users,” he said. “Launching new tablets every year with minor improvements won’t do it. Only giant leaps forward will provide the wow factor needed to drive new sales in an increasingly saturated market.”

With Apple Pay and Apple SIM bulking out the upgraded iPad, as well as improved mobile hotspot and wifi capabilities, it appears that Apple may be using its position in the market to drive disruption in both the mobile money and wireless industries.

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