The Arrogance of Apple part 2

Apple shows it can’t ‘play nice’ by forcing an unusual sized SIM on those of us with iPads and iPhone 4s – a requirement that flies in the face of the GSM mobile device open architecture ethos.

Apple’s iPad announcement on 27 January this year had most of us rushing to Google one of the stranger of its specifications; a reference to the iPad using a Micro SIM rather than a normal SIM.  Subsequently Apple announced that the new iPhone 4 would also use a Micro SIM rather than the normal sized SIM used by 99.9% of all other phones out there.

This means that if you want to use any other SIM in your iPad/iPhone 4, you’ll either be out of luck, or will have to practice ‘brain surgery’ on a regular sized SIM, cutting it down to size to fit into the smaller carrier for the Micro SIM, thereby also making it difficult to use back in other phones.

It also means that if you want to use your iPad/iPhone 4 SIM in any other device, you’ll be out of luck unless you can find a Micro SIM to normal SIM adapter sleeve.

Case in point :  I now have an iPhone 4 and also a couple of earlier generation iPhones.  But I can’t easily use the SIM from the iPhone 4 in the other iPhones, or vice versa.

Why did Apple do this?  Don’t tell me it was due to needing to save space.  The iPad is huge in size, and to suggest there’s not room for the extra 0.5″ x 0.6″ x 0.03″ of space required for a regular rather than Micro SIM would be ridiculous (I’ve attempted to show both the Micro and regular SIM at close to actual size in the picture at the top of this article so you can see how small they both are).  And if all other state of the art smartphones can fit a regular SIM – including the iPhone 3GS – surely an iPhone 4 could do so too.

This is just another manifestation of Apple’s deep dislike of the concept of allowing people to freely use their products.

Apple even makes it as difficult as possible to swap SIMs, no matter what size they are.  Every other phone I’ve seen (and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve done this with thousands of phones of probably hundreds of different models – I unlock phones) allows for a user to remove/replace/swap the phone’s SIM without any special tools.  But with Apple there’s a slide-in SIM holder and the only way to remove the slide-in holder and the SIM within it is to stick a narrow sized paper clip down a tiny hole to toggle it out.

Those of us who travel internationally are used to swapping SIMs as we cross borders, and choose which SIM we will use depending on whether we’re looking for the best data rates, the best incoming call plan, the best local call plan, or the best international call plan.

But with a new iPhone 4 or iPad, this all becomes much more difficult, for no apparent good reason.  It shows Apple’s arrogance and disdain for the open standard GSM concept that allows and encourages people to swap SIMs in their mobile devices whenever they wish.

Apple – the leader in good design and user-friendliness?  Not if you want to swap SIMs.

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