iPad micro-simIf you currently have a mobile broadband contract and are excited about the idea of using it with a 3G Apple iPad once released then you may need to think again.

It looks like initially options for iPad 3G mobile broadband providers in Australia and most markets will be limited by the requirement of using a micro / mini SIM card instead of the regular sized SIM cards used in the majority of mobile phones and USB broadband dongles.

In the mini cards the actual connector is still the same size but the plastic area around the chip is much smaller to save space. The image to the right shows a comparison of the new cards from at&t in the US which will be the only US provider offering a SIM suitable for the iPad at launch.

It is yet to be seen which providers will provide suitable SIMs in Australia but it unlikely that providers will want to miss out on the wave of customers the device could provide so expect many of the big networks such as Optus, Vodafone and Three to launch suitable SIM cards in the coming months.

apple-ipad2As the mini SIM is not something propriety to Apple it should hopefully prevent them from creating exclusive deals with a small number of networks so Australian consumers can have a choice and choose the best mobile broadband plans.

It is possible there may be exclusive deals done with certain networks to offer the iPad as part of data connection package but that would not prevent consumers purchasing an iPad via the usual sales channels such as online at the Apple store, in a physical Apple shop or via retailers such as JB Hi-fi.