One of the weirdest and most annoying features of Apple's new iPad is that
[ it does not accept that same kind of SIM cards that are used by every other mobile device on the planet ]
. Instead, it takes a "micro-SIM," which is about half the size of a regular SIM card and currently in use by....nobody.
What this means, in short, is that if you want to connect your iPad to a mobile network for mobile broadband, you'll need to ask your friendly local operator for a new micro-SIM that they have made especially for the iPad. This gives networks huge power over their customers, because they can tie any terms and conditions and contract lengths they want to that micro-SIM.
More importantly though - who will actually have these new kinds of SIM cards available for their customers? It is a big question, so I did a bit of asking around here in the UAE.
Etisalat owns a card factory in Ajman that makes SIM and recharge cards for its own networks in the UAE and abroad as well as on contract for other operators (
[ I had a lot of fun exploring this factory last year ]
The day after the iPad launch, as the nerdier, more obsessive elements of the tech world were rubbing their bleary eyes and asking what on earth a micro-SIM is, I got in touch with David Hueget, who manages Etisalat's SIM company, Ebtikar, in Ajman. How tricky is it to make a micro-SIM (known in the industry as a 3FF or third form factor SIM), I asked him, and will you guys be producing them? His answer:
Seems like if Etisalat decide to offer the iPad here, Ajmani micro-SIMs will be flying off the presses without too much bother.