Will Apple Go Around Carriers With a Built-In iPhone SIM?

According to a report at GigaOM, Apple's working on creating a SIM card that will be integrated into the iPhone itself. That means cutting carriers out of the purchasing process, and giving more power to Apple—and the consumer.

The plans reported by GigaOM involve the European market only, and would mean that customers could change carriers without having to change SIMs, and complete the entire purchasing process through Apple's website or retail stores. That would be effective overseas because the iPhone is offered by a multitude of carriers all operating on networks that use the same tech. In the US, the iPhone is an AT&T exclusive and incompatible with CDMA carriers.

But while the domestic implications of a baked-in SIM are few right now, one can imagine a future where they're quite powerful. The transition to 4G looks like it will be dominated by LTE, at which point one device would be compatible with all carriers. And AT&T's sweetheart deal looks all but expired. It may not be soon, but eventually an iPhone SIM would be just what Apple needs to circumvent carriers for hardware sales in the US. Just like they did with app sales. [GigaOM]