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Apple could ditch the physical SIM in the iPhone 14, here's why

By Sanuj Bhatia July 19, 2022, 6:15 am
iPhone with SIM card tray open Source: Unsplash

There are some rumors going around that Apple could ditch the physical SIM cards and switch to eSIM technology only with the iPhone 14 series. While this is not the first time we are hearing about it, rumors suggesting that Apple would offer only the eSIM facility on the iPhone 14 series are picking up and pointing in the direction that it could indeed be true.

The first evidence about Apple ditching physical SIM cards appeared when MacRumors reported that Apple had asked major US carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, to prepare for the launch of eSIM-only iPhone model by September 2022. Now, a new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple is making moves behind the scenes to make this a reality. Here are five reasons why we think Apple will ditch the SIM and offer eSIM-only connectivity with the next iPhone.


1. eSim adoption has increased significantly

Physical SIM, eSIM, iSIM
Physical SIM, eSIM, iSIM
Source: Pocketnow

Over the course of the past few years, eSIM adoption has increased significantly — especially in Asia and Europe. People in these regions tend to extract the maximum value out of their carriers — one of the reasons why people in these regions switch between multiple prepaid plans is to get the best data package available — and the eSIM technology will only become more popular because of this.

Even in the US, eSIM is becoming a popular option among users. 40% of all the phones sold via Verizon this year have eSIM capabilities. Similarly, AT&T and T-Mobile have started offering easy ways of activating eSIM on compatible smartphones. Despite the interest in eSIMs, analysts believe that won't be a sudden shift, and Apple would instead give carriers and consumers time to make the switch.

Apple began shifting to eSIM technology with the launch of iPhone XS and iPhone XR models. Now, the latest iPhone 13 series from the company allows users to have two eSIM cards working simultaneously meaning that users don't even have to use a physical SIM card and an eSIM to have multiple lines.

With the iPhone 14, Apple will offer two variants of the phone: one that supports both physical/eSIMs and the other one with only eSIM support. It would give users a choice to pick the best variant for themselves, similar to how SONY offers a digital edition and a normal edition of its PlayStation 5.

2. eSIM-only iPhone 14 paves the way for a port-less iPhone

iPhone 13 Pro MagSafe charging Source: Pocketnow

While the 2023 iPhone is said to feature a USB-C port, one less port (removal of the physical SIM card tray) on the iPhone would mean Apple's dreams of a port-less iPhone become more real. Even though the company isn't ready to move to a completely portless iPhone next year, primarily due to the limitations of wireless charging technology and immature MagSage ecosystem, it could still mean that the company is looking for a portless future iPhone with only MagSafe charging.

3. Sleeker devices

iPhone 13 Pro Max held in hand Source: Pocketnow Video

Moving to an eSIM iPhone will also allow Apple (and other smartphone makers who eventually shift to this technology) to build sleeker devices since the manufacturers don't have to include the space for a physical SIM card tray. Yes, the smartphones would still include the eSIM chip, but the space required by a physical SIM card is still more than the space required by an eSIM. Not only the move to eSIM would allow for slimmer smartphones, but it could also allow smartphone manufacturers to include more (or larger) components, such as a bigger battery or a larger camera module that require more space.

4. Easier to switch carriers

ATT T Mobile Verizon Major US Carriers Source: Pocketnow

One of the benefits of switching to eSIM-only technology for consumers would be the process of switching wireless providers would become easier. While, in its current state, it is not easy to configure an eSIM, carriers are working to make the process faster and easier. And when the technology becomes seamless, you will be able to switch carriers easily.

Instead of heading to the nearest store to get a new SIM, waiting for it to get activated, and then inserting it into your iPhone, you will be able to switch to a different carrier with just a phone call or a request via the app. You also won't need to go on the treasure hunt for the SIM ejector tool to remove the old SIM from your iPhone. Instead, the new network would show up automatically.

While easier switchability is one of the reasons why most US carriers are hesitant to adopt eSIMs — the fear that they would lose the customers to their competitors — the technology is a boon for the end consumer. And because of its good carrier relations and the sheer amount of iPhones it sells every year, the only company that can push the carriers to switch to eSIM technology solely is Apple.

5. Improved security

Lastly, eSIMs will also allow carriers and smartphone manufacturers to quickly roll out software updates if a security vulnerability is found. Anthony Goonetilleke, president of technology at the eSIM firm Amdocs, says that if all of the customers are using eSIM, it will allow the telecoms to "suddenly send out a security update to millions of people globally if an issue is found. You can't do that with physical SIMs [right now]."

While the physical SIM cards won't disappear immediately but once Apple stops supporting them, it will only be a matter of time before you see the whole industry shift to eSIM technology. What are your thoughts on Apple dropping support for physical SIM cards? Do you think it is a wise move? Let us know in the comments section below!


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