Apple has reportedly killed a plan to integrate SIM cards into future versions of the iPhone, according to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, but may still utilize the rumored technology in its iPad tablet. The paper quotes a purported “senior source at a mobile operator” as saying that “Apple has long been trying to build closer and closer relationships and cut out the operators. But this time they have been sent back to the drawing board with their tails between their legs.”
This report comes only a few weeks after rumors of the built-in SIM first surfaced; at the the time, it was speculated that Apple was attempting to simplify iPhone activations for its customers. Some observers even rehashed the old story that Apple was planning its own MVNO services. However, carriers reportedly — and probably correctly — saw this move as a way for subscribers to more easily change networks, and allegedly threatened to discontinue subsidizing the iPhone — which would surely eat into Apple’s tremendous overseas profits.
There are several inconsistencies that make us doubt this story somewhat: primarily, we’re skeptical that carriers have enough bargaining power with Apple to make these sort of threats. Since the iPhone is such a cash cow for anyone who offers it, providers would seem to be cutting off their noses to spite their faces if they did in fact force folks to pay full retail price.
Secondly, the article mentions that a new version of the iPad is expected “in the next few weeks,” whose only change would be the functionality of the lock button. Besides the fact that it would be highly unlikely for Apple to make such a minor spec bump to a breakout product like the iPad, it would be nearly unprecedented to do so this close to the holidays. Much more likely, the Telegraph got caught at the end of the grapevine, as the supposed change is actually a feature of the forthcoming iOS 4.2 release.