Apple's iPads with built-in cellular antennas have long let you hop between carriers just by swapping out the SIM card, something Apple seems to have solved with one SIM card that can hop onto whatever carrier you pick from a list inside iOS. The new technology, called Apple SIM, is only available in the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, and limited to some carriers in the US and in the UK. It potentially paves the way for the company to include the same technology in the iPhone so it could just sell one device to people for them to set up with their carrier of choice later on.
In terms of the initial carriers, Apple says its new SIM technology works with short-term plans, like the monthly and on-demand data packages with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and EE in the US and UK. Notably missing on that US list is Verizon, though Apple notes that its list of carriers could change.
Apple did not mention the new feature during its presentation today, but explains it like this on its page for the iPad Air 2:
The new Apple SIM is preinstalled on iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad. So whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you — with no long-term commitments.
The new iPads were announced alongside the iMac with Retina display and an updated version of the Mac Mini. Both new tablets go on sale beginning tomorrow, while the new iMac can be had today. You can get a rundown of everything Apple announced right here.
iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Hands On