Apple’s iPhone Integrated-SIM Card Plan Ditched

Apple has ditched its plan to create its own iPhone SIM cards after some mobile operators threatened to stop selling the Apple’s iPhone 4.

Apple iPhone 4: Apple Inc. had wanted to exclude operators, such as Vodafone and O2, from the sale process in order to build a more direct relationship with customers. Photo: Thomas Moore/Flickr

Previously, it had been rumored that Apple Inc. was trying to create its own SIM card for iPhone users, to give them a chance to use the device and be able to bypass carrier contracts at the same time.

But now, some carriers are saying they would forgo subsidizing the costs of the phone if Apple were to follow up on those plans.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Apple Inc. has decided to scrap the plan after carriers threatened to continue subsidizing the costs of phone.

Currently, mobile operators pay Apple the full cost of the phone, which they then pass on to the consumer for free, provided they sign up for 24-month contracts.

Apple had been planning on excluding carriers, like Vodafone and O2, from the sales process, in an attempt to try and build a better relationship with customers.

iPhone 4's Retina Display vs. iPhone 3G: Anonymous sources alleged that Apple had backed off after carrier threats of withdrawn subsidies if the company gave customers the freedom to buy and activate iPhones without having to talk directly to the providers. Photo: Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr

Apple had been trying to create an integrated SIM card which would allow customers to buy the phone outright.

“Apple has long been trying to build closer and closer relationships and cut out the operators,” an unnamed executive said, referring to activate-at-home policies.

“But this time they have been sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs.”

Whether or not carriers can stop the eventual plans isn’t known, since several carriers in the GSM Association have proposed an official standard for embedded SIMs that could leave most phones, not just Apple’s, activating at home instead of at a store over the phone.

In sort of a ‘consolation prize’ though, Apple Inc. is still moving forward with the new SIM card in their iPads. The report is that ‘Apple is planning to bring out the new integrated-SIM versions of the iPad prior to Christmas or early on in the new year.’

Lego iPad: Apple Inc. is expected to bring out integrated-SIM versions of the iPad in the run-up to Christmas or early in the New Year. Photo: Chris McVeigh/Flickr

The reason Apple is able to move forward with the iPad instead of the iPhone on this is because the Apple’s tablet PC isn’t subsidized by mobile carriers.

The UK’s Telegraph continued saying that a new version of the iPad would be released within a few weeks and would be comparable the current model.

One change though is that the “lock” button on the right-hand side would be switched to a “mute” button such as the one on the iPhone. The feature is imminent as part of the iOS 4.2 update.

However, multiple rumors have suggested that Apple Inc. would release a new iPad early next year, but part suppliers might not start shipping for assembly until January with a accelerated production ramp in February.

An embedded SIM may come along with a dual-mode 3G modem that could let it connect to both HSPA carriers like AT&T and EVDO carriers like Verizon without needing a different model or a removable SIM card.[via The Telegraph (UK)]

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