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With 'Apple SIM,' New iPads Can Connect to Different Carriers

I have one question for Apple after yesterday's presentation: How in the heck did you forget to mention Apple SIM?

The revolutionary new SIM card -- which was first pointed out by 9to5 Mac, was not mentioned in Apple's keynote, and which only began to make waves on the tech blogs later in the afternoon -- could revolutionize how you connect your tablet to cellular data.

How? It allows you to hop data networks when you don't have coverage, or when one carrier is offering a cheaper price, or when you travel to the UK. It is, in essence, a cross-carrier SIM card that supports AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States and EE in the United Kingdom, with hopefully more networks to come.

Why Is This So Important?

Business travel. My pet peeve about my T-Mobile phone is that I don't get reception between California and Denver. My FreedomPop WIMAX 4G modem only gets reception in major cities. Every network has its gaps, and if you're a frequent traveler, it gets really irritating when you suddenly have no Internet access. (It always cuts out exactly when you need it.)

Apple's new SIM card is cool because you pull out your tablet, pick a network, and connect. According to 9to5 Mac, it'll allow you to choose short-term plans, which is beats the heck out a monthly commitment. (Going on vacation or a business trip?)

It's also international, though it is limited to one carrier (EE) in the United Kingdom so far. If more carriers and more countries are added, this could become a business traveler's best friend.

Speaking of Tablet Data ... How About Free?

One person who tweeted repeatedly about the new Apple SIM card, despite Apple's silence, was T-Mobile CEO John Legere. Obviously, he's excited because his company is included:

We're also excited, because for sporadic use, if you can get T-Mobile reception, it's your best choice. Why? It's free. The company announced earlier this year that it would provide 200MB of free data to any tablet user who uses its network -- no cell plan, no data plan required.

From the company's perspective, it's probably a freemium thing: Get consumers hooked on the 200MB and maybe they'll sign up for more data when it runs out. From a casual user's perspective, it's a great way to quickly download that brief or check your email when you are on a business trip and Wi-Fi isn't available.

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