Apple iPad Air 2 And Mini 3 Not Universal Due To AT&T

Corey Blake

Apple iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 come with new Apple SIM cards that allow customers to switch phone carriers after buying an iPad. Previously, Apple iPad and other products were locked in to one specific phone carrier from the moment it was purchased. The new Apple SIM card on the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 was set to prevent this. However, AT&T is not playing along.

According to Re/code, AT&T will lock the Apple iPad SIM card to their network once it is used on AT&T. This prevents switching to other carriers in the future, which nearly eliminates one of the selling points of the new Apple iPad models.

"With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said. "It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier."

When asked why AT&T is choosing to lock the card, Siegel simply responded, "it's just simply the way we've chosen to do it." The inconvenience of having to make an additional purchase will surely help prevent loss of customers for AT&T, the second largest provider of mobile phone service in the United States.

This issue was noticed Friday by MacRumors, when users who had just purchased the new Apple iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3 started reporting a warning screen when selecting AT&T from the list of providers.

"Once activation completes, this Apple SIM can only be used with AT&T," the warning reads. "You will need a new Apple SIM if you change carriers in the future."

MacRumors then spotted a document on Apple's support section that addressed the inconsistency.

"When you choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only," the site reads. "If your Apple SIM becomes dedicated to a specific network and you want to choose from other carrier programs, you can purchase a new Apple SIM from an Apple Retail store."

Because of this issue with AT&T and with Verizon not participating at all, the Apple SIM card really only allows a user to switch between Sprint and T-Mobile.

But even Sprint isn't perfect, which was causing error messages. On Thursday, T-Mobile CEO John Legere took to Twitter to point out the problems.

— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 23, 2014

Apple and the phone carriers will likely iron out some of these problems over time, but there's no disputing the launch has been rough, especially considering that some reviews haven't loved the new Apple iPad Air 2.

[Image source: iMore]