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Apple never mentioned this key iPad Air 2 feature during its big event

Published Oct 16th, 2014 5:29PM EDT
iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 Apple SIM Card
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple on Thursday announced a variety of products during its special iPad and Mac event, including the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3, the Retina iMac, the new Mac Mini and OS X Yosemite, but there’s also a tiny product the company has been working on and which will launch alongside the new iPads that Apple didn’t say a thing about.

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Apple has created a SIM card of its own, the Apple SIM that’s going to be preloaded on all iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 models sold that will be compatible with a variety of carriers in certain markets — apparently carriers have to opt-in for this feature to work, and only some operators have so far agreed to Apple’s conditions.

“The new Apple SIM is preinstalled on iPad Air 2 [and iPad mini 3] with Wi-Fi + Cellular models,” Apple wrote on its iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 pages detailing their wireless features. “The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad. So whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you — with no long-term commitments. And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip.”

The Apple SIM card, which is a nano SIM card, works with AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S., and with EE in the U.K., although it’s likely other carriers will support it in the future.

It’s not clear why Apple has created the Apple SIM or whether it’ll one day ship with iPhone models, but it’s clear that Apple is certainly is interested in this particular tiny bit of technology. A few years ago, the company was awarded a patent describing virtual SIM technology, also a sign that Apple is interested in SIM cards.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.