Last thursday the second Apple’s special event of the year took place, in this event the main protagonists were the new iPad Air 2, the new iPad Mini 3, the new Yosemite OS X Yosemite and the stunning iMac 5K Retina. However, in addition to these presentations Apple also introduce an important change: the usage of an Apple SIM card in the new Ipad Air 2.
It may seem a non-important announcement in comparison with the new Apple products, but it has the potential of being a game-changer in the telco industry. Basically the usage of an Apple SIM means that SIM card is no longer provided by the phone company or MNO (Mobile Network Operator) and now it is provided by the phone manufacturer. From the perspective of the user, imagine that you turn on your device and then you can choose which phone company you want to use. Or imagine travelling between countries and being able to choose which phone company fits better your interests.
Since the appearance of mobile phones SIM cards have been a key element in the way consumers, phone companies and phone manufacturers relate between them. Until now the user was almost a slave of the phone company, who could tie up the user with permanence contract and phone-company limited devices. In this sense the control of the situation has drift from the phone companies to the device manufacturers, Apple’s message is clear: “what customers really want is to use my devices and the phone companies are only a necessary evil, therefore I will set the rules of how the relationship consumer-device manufacturer-phone manufacturer will take place”. If finally the concept of Apple SIM card succeeds, Apple and device manufacturers in general will take control of a crucial part of the telco business.
Apple’s announce on thursday only mention the usage of an Apple SIM card in the iPad Air 2, and not in the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 plus. We interpret this as a trial for the Apple SIM card concept in order to check its possible repercussions, as it is not introduced in the flagship iPhones. Only time will tell if Apple succeeds or not with its new strategy, but seems clear that it is a new threat to phone companies and the control of their business.