How Apple’s pursuit of simplicity helped revolutionize the SIM card

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Swap SIMs no more. Photo: Apple
Your SIM swapping days are over, thanks to Apple. Photo: Apple

One of the neatest and most innovative features of Apple’s new iPads is the unique Apple SIM feature, which allows users to easily switch between different carriers and plans using iOS.

A newly uncovered patent application dates elements of Apple’s concept back to 2009, before Apple even debuted the iPad. Called “Provisioning an Embedded Subscriber Identity Module,” the invention describes a method of obtaining and personalizing an embedded eSIM card, which can be provisioned over-the-air, rather than the pre-provisioned nature of physical SIM cards.

And in true Apple style it was all about one thing: simplicity.

A diagram shows how Apple SIM works. Photo: Apple/USPTO
A diagram shows how Apple SIM works. Photo: Apple/USPTO

“For example, a user may be able to more easily compare service providers’ coverage and plans and/or select a plan if the provisioning process is performed over a network … rather than in a service provider store location which only offers plans from that service provider,” the patent application notes.

Apple credits employees Arun Mathias, Li Ll and Ben-Heng Juang as the inventors of its eSIM concept. While users are likely grateful to them, however, not all service providers have proven so keen: AT&T, for instance, has locked Apple SIM in new iPads, thereby defeating its purpose entirely.

Hopefully this is only short-term thinking, and Apple’s idea will eventually become the norm.

Via: Patently Apple