AT&T Locking Apple Interchangeable SIMs in iPad Air 2 and Retina Mini 3

Apple's new Apple SIM card in the iPad Air 2 and the Retina iPad mini 3 is designed to be universal, usable across a variety of wireless carriers in the US and UK, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and UK's EE. According to user reports in the MacRumors forums and on Twitter, AT&T is not supporting this interchangeability and is locking the SIM included with cellular models of the iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 3 after it is used with an AT&T plan.

cellular-att-SIM
Image via John Legere

A newly posted Apple support document details what happens to the SIM when it is activated on US carriers.
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.
If your Apple SIM becomes dedicated to a specific network and you want to choose from other carrier programs, you can purchase a new Apple SIM from an Apple Retail store.

Apple introduced this universal SIM along with the iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 3. It is the first SIM provided by Apple that is designed to work across multiple carriers.


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iPad Mini 3 Teardown Reveals NFC Controller for Apple Pay, Hot Glued Home Button

After tearing down the iPad Air 2 earlier this week, iFixit has now moved on to the iPad mini 3, which also received a minor update during Apple's October 16 iPad event. Unlike the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 saw few internal improvements, gaining a new gold color option and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

As expected, iFixit's teardown reveals many of the same parts that were used in first Retina iPad mini, now called the iPad mini 2. It continues to use the same 7.9-inch display, A7 processor with M7 coprocessor, 5-megapixel camera, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

There is one new addition, which is directly related to Touch ID and the iPad mini 3's ability to support in-app Apple Pay payments. Like the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 includes a 65V10 NFC controller manufactured by NXP.

ipadmini3teardown
NFC Controller in blue

There is no accompanying NFC antenna to allow the tablet to make NFC-based payments within stores, but there has been strong speculation suggesting the NFC chip is where Apple Pay's "Secure Element" is located. According to Apple, the Secure Element is a dedicated chip that stores encrypted Device Account Numbers, which replace credit card numbers for security reasons.

Though the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 are not able to make payments within stores, they can make Apple Pay payments within participating apps and thus utilize both the Secure Element and Device Account Numbers.

NXP's own site details the use of a specific integrated circuit designed for handling and storing secure data on its website, stating the technology has been integrated into its NFC controller chips. While the 65V10 is not mentioned by name, its appearance in both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 suggests that it is indeed being used for its security function rather than its NFC function.

Aside from the inclusion of the 65V10 NFC chip, which is located in a spot on the logic board that was previously left blank, there are few other notable features about the iPad mini 3. iFixit did find that the tablet has new home button cabling to support Touch ID and home button brackets that are securely affixed by hot glue, which makes removing the home button a much more difficult task.

homebuttonglue
Like the Touch ID cable in the iPhone 5s, the location of the Touch ID cable in the iPad mini 3 makes screen repairs very difficult, as the cable is easy to sever when opening up the display. Due to the glue and the precarious position of the Touch ID cable, the iPad mini 3 earned a repairability score of 2 out of 10 from iFixit.

Apple's iPad mini 3 is currently available in both retail stores and from Apple's online store, with prices that start at $399.


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iPad Mini 3 Teardown Reveals NFC Controller for Apple Pay, Hot Glued Home Button

After tearing down the iPad Air 2 earlier this week, iFixit has now moved on to the iPad mini 3, which also received a minor update during Apple's October 16 iPad event. Unlike the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 saw few internal improvements, gaining a new gold color option and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

As expected, iFixit's teardown reveals many of the same parts that were used in first Retina iPad mini, now called the iPad mini 2. It continues to use the same 7.9-inch display, A7 processor with M7 coprocessor, 5-megapixel camera, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

There is one new addition, which is directly related to Touch ID and the iPad mini 3's ability to support in-app Apple Pay payments. Like the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 includes a 65V10 NFC controller manufactured by NXP.

ipadmini3teardown
NFC Controller in blue

There is no accompanying NFC antenna to allow the tablet to make NFC-based payments within stores, but there has been strong speculation suggesting the NFC chip is where Apple Pay's "Secure Element" is located. According to Apple, the Secure Element is a dedicated chip that stores encrypted Device Account Numbers, which replace credit card numbers for security reasons.

Though the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 are not able to make payments within stores, they can make Apple Pay payments within participating apps and thus utilize both the Secure Element and Device Account Numbers.

NXP's own site details the use of a specific integrated circuit designed for handling and storing secure data on its website, stating the technology has been integrated into its NFC controller chips. While the 65V10 is not mentioned by name, its appearance in both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 suggests that it is indeed being used for its security function rather than its NFC function.

Aside from the inclusion of the 65V10 NFC chip, which is located in a spot on the logic board that was previously left blank, there are few other notable features about the iPad mini 3. iFixit did find that the tablet has new home button cabling to support Touch ID and home button brackets that are securely affixed by hot glue, which makes removing the home button a much more difficult task.

homebuttonglue
Like the Touch ID cable in the iPhone 5s, the location of the Touch ID cable in the iPad mini 3 makes screen repairs very difficult, as the cable is easy to sever when opening up the display. Due to the glue and the precarious position of the Touch ID cable, the iPad mini 3 earned a repairability score of 2 out of 10 from iFixit.

Apple's iPad mini 3 is currently available in both retail stores and from Apple's online store, with prices that start at $399.


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Source: NFC chip in new iPads just the Secure Element for Apple Pay

NFC-iPad-Air-2-green-01Teardowns of Apple’s new iPad Air 2 revealed an NFC chip that wasn’t officially announced by Apple, but sources close to the situation confirmed it’s only being used as a Secure Element for Apple Pay in-app purchases.

Apple describes the Secure Element on its website, which is used to securely store account numbers associated with credit cards for Apple Pay on both the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, according to our source: With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card to Passbook, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone. These numbers are never stored on Apple servers. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.

Following a teardown of the iPad Air 2 revealing an NFC module similar to that present in the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, some speculated Apple could have future plans for the component that wasn’t officially announced as included in the new tablet. Some theorized that the NFC chip might be capable of allowing the new iPads to act as NFC-based terminals for receiving Apple Pay payments, for example.

While Apple Pay, Apple’s new payment service, is available for in-app purchases on the Touch ID-equipped iPad Air 2, the device isn’t capable of making contactless payments at NFC terminals like the new iPhones. The iPad Air 2 lacks NFC antennas included in the iPhones, and we now know the NFC chip found inside is only being used as a Secure Element for Apple Pay purchases in apps. In addition to the lack of an NFC antenna, iLounge points out that Apple didn’t seek certification for NFC functionality for iPad Air 2 with the FCC, something it would have been required to do for wireless communications.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Tagged: antenna, Apple pay, Credit card, in-app, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, NFC, NFC terminal, Register, secure element

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iTunes Digital Music Sales Fall 13 Percent as Apple Prepares Beats Music Refresh

Apple's digital music sales continue to spiral downward, falling more than 13 percent worldwide thus far in 2014, reports The Wall Street Journal. Last year, digital music sales dropped for the first time since iTunes opened in 2003, falling 5.7 percent year-over-year.

beats-apple-welcome
This continued decline is likely one of the reasons behind Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music earlier this year. Apple may be hoping to offset this drop in digital music revenue with increased subscription revenue from Beats Music.
The plummeting download numbers help illustrate why Apple bought the $10-a-month subscription streaming service Beats Music earlier this year, as part of its $3 billion acquisition that included headphone maker Beats Electronics. Apple is rebuilding Beats Music and plans to relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, according to a person familiar with the matter.
To attract a broader customer base, Apple is rumored to be revamping Beats Music with an expected relaunch of the service slated for next year. The Cupertino company also is pushing for an industry-leading $5 monthly subscription cost that may increase the number of subscribers willing to pay for a premium service.

Apple is not new to the streaming music business, having launched iTunes Radio last year alongside iOS 7. The Pandora-like service has reportedly failed to achieve its goals of spurring listeners to purchase tracks from the iTunes Store despite being bundled on millions of phones in its available regions, and has yet to expand beyond the United States and Australia.


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