The Apple SIM card which was introduced by Apple with a purpose of switching between multiple carriers will now defy the whole concept as AT&T decided to lock down Apple SIM cards in the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3.
AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile US all signed up to provide switching services to the customers using Apple SIM. However, AT&T chose to go against Apple and bound its users to its network by locking down Apple SIM once someone chooses the carrier. To switch to other network, user will eventually have to replace the SIM card. This means once chosen the AT&T carrier, Apple SIM will fall into the category of general SIM cards.
AT&T has a brief history of going against Apple and still continues to do the same out of the fear of loosing customers. It initially placed restrictions on Apple’s FaceTime video-calling feature on its cellular networks. Back in 2009, it also blocked users from tethering other devices to the iPhone out of fears about the amount of data that would be consumed.
Apple on its support page confirmed the report-
Using Apple SIM, you can choose from different cellular carriers and their various programs. The data plans vary by carrier. For instance, in the United States, you can choose a domestic plan from either Sprint or T-Mobile and also pick an alternate plan from the other carrier as needed. When you choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only.
T Mobile US and Sprint will bound to its terms and will allow customers to switch from its network to others. Verizon, largest carrier of US, didn’t participate in the Apple SIM program.