updated 12:40 pm EST, Sun November 21, 2010
Apple may have dropped iPhone embedded SIM
Apple's rumored plans to use embedded SIMs in iPhones may have come to an abrupt halt if a claim Sunday morning is validated. Anonymous sources alleged that Apple had backed off after carrier threats of withdrawn subsidies if the company gave customers the freedom to buy and activate iPhones without having to talk directly to the provider. The risk of losing subsidies in Europe was too much for the American company, the UK's Telegraph was told.
"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.
A plan to do the same for the iPad is reportedly still underway, since Apple isn't dependent on carriers.
Both rumors are called into question by the timing proposed for the iPad. An updated model with the embedded SIM was described as coming "within few weeks [sic]" either late this year or early next, but the same timing would also have Apple making a hardware change to the rotation lock toggle to a mute switch. The feature is imminent as part of the iOS 4.2 update.
Multiple rumors from the past few days have suggested that Apple 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.