iPad’s Micro-SIM Card Only There To Mess With Us?

One of the items on the long list of unusual things about the iPad is it’s weirdly-small SIM card. It seems counterintuitive. It can’t be to save space, because the iPad is way bigger than the iPhone and has more than enough room to fit a normal-sized SIM. It seems more likely that Apple gave it a different size for no other reason than to stop iPhone users from plugging the SIM card from their iPhone (or other smartphone—remember, it’s unlocked) into the iPad whenever they want to do a little browsing, forcing them to sign up for a new plan.

Gemalto is believed to be the maker of the micro SIM card in the 3G models of iPads. They say that the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) might have been forced by carriers to use only the differently-sized SIMs in certain non-phone devices to stop them from being used with standard-sized SIMs on existing smartphone plans, although they refused to comment on any specific dealings.

“We cannot speak specifically about our relationship with OEMs,” said Gemalto North America vice president of business development Jean-Louis Carrara.

That said, he also said that there may be perfectly reasonable reasons from a business standpoint. Apple may simply be using them because that’s what they believe most devices will be using in the near future, many of which will have need the Micro SIM in order to save space, like smartphones.

“If you look at where the micro SIM is being used today, it’s in those devices that have real space constraints, but it’s hard to envision a tablet to have that much of a constraint,” said Carrara. “Maybe it does. But it could also be a decision by some OEMs that they would prefer to have a [micro SIM] because it just makes sense with the way they want to run their business, or the customer segment, or the way they want to distribute their devices. We will see OEMs choosing [micro SIM] because they have a physical constraint, but it could also be because they want to have a card that is different than the plug-in SIM.”

 If that’s the case, it would actually make the device more compatible in the long run than less compatible. That said, you can bet that the decision will disappoint a lot of people hoping to swap a single SIM between their iPhone and iPad.

“There is no difference between the functionality or design of a micro SIM card, when compared to a regular SIM card — the only difference is the size of the extra plastic surrounding the chip,” confirmed Carrara. “Cutting the plastic around [a SIM card] and putting it in a new device is not endangering anything. What it’s probably going to do is that people will probably not cut the plastic properly, and the contacts won’t match on the device, and therefore it won’t perform, but that’s not a problem. You can lose your SIM today and go to the operator and get a new one.”

Hopefully this really was to make things easier for future users instead of more restricted for ones in the (almost) present, but we’re not getting our hopes up.

[via Wired]


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