Apple’s iPhone 14 range was just introduced at its Far Out event. While there aren’t many significant improvements over the iPhone 13, one item has piqued the interest of certain users: Apple has deleted the conventional SIM card ports for its US models, instead opting for eSIMs.
Is Apple’s action a reflection of the smartphone industry’s changing times? Will more manufacturers, follow suit in the coming years? We’ll review the options below.
An integrated SIM card is referred to as an “eSIM.” No actual SIM cards are involved, and you do not need to switch over physically. Not all networks now accept eSIM, which must be supported and activated by the network or carrier (see below).
Like the NFC chip used in payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Pay, an eSIM is essentially a tiny chip within your phone. Since the iPhone XR, every iPhone has supported two SIM cards: an eSIM and a traditional nano-SIM. Please feel free to read our comprehensive essay on the variations between eSIM and SIM cards.
Apple’s new iPhone 14 lineup has various features; for example, the Pro versions now have the Dynamic Island, while the basic iPhone 14 models continue to have the notch that has been present on the iPhone since iPhone X. With the release of the iPhone 14 lineup, Apple became the first well-known brand to completely do away with the physical SIM from its US iPhone models. However, Apple will still include an actual SIM card slot in all its other models.
“Devices of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro will be sent with an eSIM already installed. * Note that these models cannot be activated with a physical SIM.”
Apple also informed Verge that the basic iPhone 14 could accommodate up to six eSIMs. Only two of these, though, can be in use at once. The iPhone 14 Pro, on the other hand, has eight storage slots.
The main benefit of utilizing an eSIM is that you don’t need to wait for a genuine SIM to arrive or visit a carrier’s store to obtain one. By scanning a QR code or utilizing a carrier’s app, you may quickly and easily sign up for a mobile plan and activate it.
Similar to this, having two SIMs opens up other valuable situations. Many people prefer using one SIM for personal use while using the other for business. Setting them up is a little simpler because both are eSIMs.
When going abroad, it is also crucial to have two SIM cards. You won’t experience any call or text loss while using a local carrier’s plan for data coverage.
These days, most significant carriers come with eSIM functionality by default. Thus chances are that this won’t have a significant impact on you. However, a lot of smaller carriers still need real SIM cards, so here is where the lack of a SIM slot would be problematic.
More crucially, if you’re going abroad, you could decide to buy a prepaid carrier plan there to have access to the local network, which is typically only possible with an actual SIM card. This is particularly clear in underdeveloped nations where eSIM usage isn’t prevalent. Therefore, using an eSIM-only handset will be challenging.
Apple has a history of eschewing convention in favor of innovation. The most prominent example is the headphone jack removal from phones, which was pioneered by Apple and quickly followed by other manufacturers.
Physical SIM cards are set to follow the same trend with Apple’s release of the iPhone 14. It will be intriguing to see what choices other smartphone makers make.
Considering this, everyone should anticipate a rapid rise in eSIM usage. Apple, however, has also acknowledged that eSIM isn’t as widespread worldwide, which is why only the US models have embraced the eSIM-only standard as it is. However, if this is a success, it could decide to apply this globally in its successive versions.
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