One of the numerous articles from Wired commenting Apple’s new iPad is about its SIM card. Rather than using traditional SIM cards, they will be using a Micro-SIM form factor, which is slightly smaller than a traditional SIM card.
Wired claims that the intention behind the change is to force customers to buy two SIM cards: one for their iPhone, and one for their iPad. That’s an interesting hypothesis, and a possible new use case for SIM cards: use several formats to force customers to have several SIM cards. Of course, the network operators are accused of trying to get customers to get a mobile data subscription for each device they own.
Such a use of a SIM card certainly does not seem to make any good to anybody, and would reflect really short-term thinking from MNOs, and even worse thinking from SIM vendors if they started pushing this as an advantage of the multiple factors. Here are a few good reasons why this idea is bad:
- First, an iPhone is a phone, and an iPad isn’t. This means that, once you remove your SIM card from your iPhone, you can’t be reached on your mobile number. Unpractical, for the least.
- Then, an iPad is not as small as an iPhone, and it is much more likely to be used in WiFi than 3G, at least as long as there will not be a pricing plan that makes the use of 3G affordable.
- The contacts in the Mini-Sim and Micro-SIM are in the same configuration, which means that it is easy to build an adapter from Micro-SIM to Mini-SIM. So, if you have a Micro-SIM, you are able to use it in a device that requires a standard SIM card.
So, this definitely isn’t the killer use case that we are looking for. Locking in final customers, through formats or anything else, does not look like a promising use case for a product, and we should rather think of making these customers’ lives easier.