Are you rolling with an out-of-contract AT&T iPhone? If so, there's no reason to keep it locked to the AT&T network as of this weekend. Starting on Easter Sunday, AT&T will unlock any out-of-contract iPhone at the request of the customer. This means you can swap out the SIM for that of any other GSM carrier. This makes it super-easy when traveling abroad. In order to get the unlock, your account needs to be in good standing, so make sure you're all paid up.
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Apple has gotten creative with SIM cards in the past. They've done it before with the iPad, which uses a MicroSIM to connect to a 3G cellular network, and then the iPhone 4 followed suit. While they didn't exactly invent the technology, it's the first time that this gets used in a mass market device. Now, this morning, sources inside of some European carriers say that Apple is ready to pull a similar stunt. Apple and SIM maker Gemalto are reportedly about to implement a new SIM technology which would live permanently inside of the iPhone, and wouldn't need to be removed to switch carrier. The new SIM could be changed from one network to the next by the software, removing the need for it to be a removable card.
This is only rumor at this point, and if it was any other company it would be a dubious one at best. However, Apple's already proved that they can make carriers bend to their will to a certain extent, and this may be no different. The main benefit for Apple would be the ability to bypass the carrier. Consumers could buy a phone online, without any need to be pre-attached to a carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile, and then choose themselves which carrier to configure it for, at will.
Of course it's not all good for the end user. This would remove some of the control from the cellular network, but that control would be put straight into Apple's hands. So it remains to be seen what they would do with such increased power. Nevertheless, if they do manage this feat, it's clear others would be tempted to do so. Time will tell if Apple breaks the smartphone mold once more.
Read More | GigaOM