Photo: Associated Press
Here’s an interesting tidbit from GigaOM’s Stacey Higginbotham: Apple is reportedly working with a company called Gemalto on a new type of SIM card that would let iPhone software switch which carrier each phone is associated with, rather than relying on different SIM cards from multiple carriers.The most interesting result from this could be that Apple’s iPhone software — the iOS, iTunes, and the App Store — might then let you choose service from multiple wireless carriers, potentially even forcing carriers to compete over your business with special deals or service options.
This would provide better deals (in theory) for consumers, and would give Apple more control over mobile phone sales and distribution, rather than carriers or resellers.
This makes sense, as Apple increasingly works with multiple carriers per country, especially in Europe. This is the long-term future we saw for Google’s Nexus One phone earlier this year, which ultimately flopped. (This could be trickier in the U.S., where there are multiple wireless technologies, though it’s possible Apple has a solution for this, too.)
Bonuses: Apple could then possibly fuse the SIM card inside the phone, which would simplify the iPhone’s design, and might eliminate the need for a SIM card access drawer on the side. This could save some space and result in cleaner designs.
And Apple may be able to simplify its phone distribution chain and logistics, without having to prepare different versions of the iPhone for each carrier, with their respective SIM cards included.