We’re pretty excited about Apple SIM, but it turns out the new SIM card included with the iPad Air 2 isn’t exactly what we expected. Following many reports, and confirmed by Apple’s own Apple SIM support page, selecting AT&T as the carrier will lock it down permanently, though you can still swap out the SIM if you want to switch carriers later on.
What this means for the end user is that when you boot up the iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular it won’t be locked to any carrier if you purchased it from Apple directly. However, once you connect to AT&T’s network you won’t be able to switch that SIM over to another participating network. Of course you can physically remove the SIM and put a new one in, but Apple isn’t giving them away for free. The company confirms on its Apple SIM support page that it plans to sell the cards at its retail stores.
Thankfully it looks like you’ll still be able to switch back and forth freely between Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S. on the same Apple SIM card. The support page for the new SIM also notes that any iPads bought from a carrier store will come with SIM cards locked to that carrier, meaning the only way to take part in carrier switching to begin with is to purchase your new iPad Air 2 from Apple directly.
As with anything in life, the devil is definitely in the details when it comes to Apple SIM. If you want to take part in carrier switching, it looks like you will definitely need to purchase from Apple directly. And if you want to spend any of your time on AT&T’s network you will most definitely need two of the new SIM cards.