Perhaps the most interesting news about Apple’s new iPad Air 2 tablet is buried at the bottom of one of its marketing pages: It will come pre-installed with a new “Apple SIM” card instead of one from a specific mobile operator.
If anything can disrupt the carrier marketplace, this is it.
It’s early, but it’s easy to see how this concept could significantly disrupt the mobile industry if Apple brings it to the iPhone. In many markets—especially the US—most mobile phones are distributed by operators and locked to those networks under multi-year contracts. People rarely switch operators, partially out of habit and satisfaction, but mostly because it’s annoying to do so.
Carrier lock-in is the bane of market competition. The ability to easily switch carriers and preserve your cellular identity, keeping not only your device but your existing number, without anything more than that device itself—this is the holy grail for carrier customers.