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So What’s With The New iPad Pro’s Embedded SIM Card?

Apple iPad Pro

During its March 21 event, not only did Apple introduce a new smaller iPhone (the iPhone SE), it also announced to the world a fresh take on the iPad Pro tablet device it debuted last year. Indeed, the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro was a worthy follow up to its bigger sibling in more ways than one, but there was something about it that got mobile users’ interests piqued -- the embedded Apple SIM card.


For a bit of a background, back in October of 2014, Apple formally unveiled the Apple SIM together with its iPad Air 2 tablet offering. The Apple SIM works just like any other SIM card, but is programmable and lets mobile users select between scores of wireless carriers around the world in an on-device interface. Basically, the Apple SIM made it easier for the iPhone maker to ship a particular handset that is compatible with mobile service network providers worldwide, especially when paired with a cellular radio that can take all of the existing wireless technologies available today in one convenient package.


However, those Apple SIM cards were designed to removable, just like any standard SIM card, and a number of wireless carriers actually configure those SIM cards permanently, effectively locking them to that particular service provider. But what about the embedded Apple SIM card on the 9.7 inch iPad Pro? What will happen if this SIM card is reprogrammed?


On Verizon Wireless


The Big Red has deactivated the embedded SIM card on its version of the iPad Pro. Mobile users who travel with their Verizon Wireless iPad Pro tablet will have to replace the physical SIM card with one from an international or local wireless carrier. 




AT&T has chosen to lock the Apple SIM card embedded in the iPad Pro units it sells, for both domestic and international use. But mobile users are free to purchase an iPad Pro from other sources and then choose AT&T from the embedded SIM card, and that SIM will be unlocked for both domestic and international use.To recap: an iPad Pro bought from AT&T will have its SIM locked, and mobile users will have to roam internationally on AT&T’s plans; but if the iPad Pro is purchased from other channels and AT&T is manually selected as the carrier, it is unlocked and can be used on other wireless carriers. 


Note that no other wireless carriers are locked (T-Mobile should not pose any problem). In Japan though, iPad Pro units bought from any of the separate Japanese carrier outlets are locked.


As for those who want to use AT&T and T-Mobile, they can utilize the embedded SIM card, then slot in a T-Mobile SIM card, and that will have the effect of overriding the internal. Every 9.7 inch iPad Pro come with a SIM card slot on the exterior, and mobile users can choose to insert another wireless carrier’s SIM card in that slot even if the tablet’s embedded Apple SIM card has been locked to AT&T. This means that even if the internal SIM card is locked, you can still switch to another wireless carrier by means of another physical SIM card from that other carrier, because after all, the device itself is technically not locked.