The new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 come with their own Apple SIM cards, theoretically letting you switch carriers whenever you choose. But AT&T isn't completely playing ball.

As T-Mobile CEO John Legere gleefully points out on Twitter, the moment you activate your Apple SIM on AT&T is the moment you can no longer pair it with any other carrier. "Once activation completes, this Apple SIM can only be used with "AT&T," reads a message that early adopters are getting today.

Is that a big deal, though? Not necessarily. AT&T tells us that it's only locking the Apple SIM card, not the iPad hardware, so you can still swap out a AT&T-locked SIM card for a T-Mobile one if you ever want to switch. You can also just buy a new SIM card from Apple itself. Other carriers sell them for $10, and the Apple variety probably won't cost much more.

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Besides according to an Apple Support page updated today, it's not like you can walk into a Sprint or T-Mobile store, buy an iPad, and pick a different carrier either. iPads purchased from Sprint won't even come with an Apple SIM. iPads purchased from AT&T and T-Mobile will come with locked SIMs to begin with, according to Apple's page. And Verizon, well... Verizon isn't offering compatibility with Apple SIMs, period.

In short, in the United States, this whole idea is a little bit screwed. But at least you can always pop out the SIM card from your blissfully unlocked iPad itself, and put a different one in its place. It's not the fantastic future we were hoping for, but it's the best the present has to offer. [via MacRumors]

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