The 3G version of Apple’s iPad tablet computer went on sale in the US this week and, like the Wi-Fi-only version released last month, it’s likely to be snapped up by eager early adopters in SA even though the product isn’t sold locally.
There’s just one problem: the 3G iPad (pictured) doesn’t use regular-issue Sim cards. Instead, Apple has adopted a new-format Sim known as a “micro Sim”.
Though a micro Sim holds the same amount of information as regular mini Sims, it’s smaller (15x12mm versus 25x15mm) and so is not physically compatible. Micro Sims also offers security features and functionality not found in mini Sims.
Apple’s decision to use micro Sims has led some SA consumers to consider measures like filing down larger Sims so they fit the 3G iPad, which is imported by online shops such as Wantitall and Have2have.
The good news is that consumers won’t need to resort to extreme measures like this.
Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys says the cellular operator has imported about 10 000 of the new micro Sims to cater for anticipated demand from SA consumers.
Uys says that although the micro Sims won’t be available in all Vodacom retail outlets — at least not immediately — they can be delivered to customers on request.
He says Vodafone’s MiFi device, a separate, battery-powered 3G modem that creates a Wi-Fi hotspot, has proved popular for consumers who have bought the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad.
Vodacom spokesman Nicolene Visser says the micro Sims, also known as “third form factor” Sims, will be available “towards the end of May”.
MTN had not responded to a request for comment by the time of publication. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral
- Mini and micro Sim image credit: Justin Ormont