Filed Under: Tech

Dragging carriers into the future, Apple ditches SIM card tray in iPhone 14

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Apple’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro offer a number of new features, including upgraded cameras, faster processors and emergency SOS via satellite. But dropping the physical SIM card tray in favor of a digital eSIM in U.S. models could have the biggest impact across the mobile phone landscape.

The Subscriber Identity Module card, or SIM card, is a portable memory chip that holds mobile carrier information. The card essentially ties the device to the provider and assigns a phone number for calls and messages. eSIM functions the same digitally, generally over Bluetooth, without the need for a physical chip.

Many mobile device manufacturers, including Apple, have supported eSIM in recent years, in tandem with traditional, physical SIM cards.

The transition will make it easier for iPhone users in the U.S. to switch devices or carriers moving forward.

“They [Apple] want a much cleaner setup experience so that you just simply hold your old phone near your new phone and over Bluetooth that eSim information just transfers over, it’s nice and easy,” Hartley Charlton, an editor at MacRumors told Straight Arrow News. “You’re not having to mess around with using a little tool you get in the box to move this very tiny little piece of plastic from one device to another. “

Most major carriers in developed countries support eSIM, but that’s not the case everywhere.

Most people “in the U.S. and maybe Europe, you get a SIM card, once you stick it in your phone, you forget about it,” said Kyle Wiens, a right-to-repair advocate and CEO of iFixIt. “But that’s not how the developing world works. Every street vendor sells SIM cards and people swap them around a lot.”

Experts believe one of the world’s most popular mobile phone makers moving exclusively to eSIM will drag the carriers that have been holding out into the future.

“Certainly within the next five years, I think we can see the SIM card, the physical SIM card being almost completely phased out, at least for smartphones, especially as the technology behind setting up eSIM is available,” Charlton predicted.

For iPhones to continue to get more powerful generation after generation, while also becoming more compact, Apple is going to have to take advantage of every millimeter of internal space.

“When the iPhone is reaching its limits in terms of its feature set, gaining a bit of internal space is very valuable,” Charlton added. “Although that can’t fully take place with the iPhone 14, because it’s only in the U.S. that this has taken place.”

With eSIM facing a soft rollout in the U.S., Apple won’t be taking advantage of that real estate in the iPhone 14.

“They could put batteries there, like a headphone jack there,” Wiens suggested. “What they should do is put a micro SD card there.”

Critics of the iPhone and Apple, in general, have been calling for native expandable storage, similar to that of many Android devices on the market.

Despite smartphone makers pushing out upgraded devices every single year, it’s not always required to make the leap.

“These things are not getting dramatically better every generation,” Wiens concluded. “Anyone buying a phone should really probably be thinking in the four- to five-year time horizon.”

Brent Jabbour:

Apple just unveiled the new generation of Iphone.

You’ve surely heard about the innovations like a fancy 48 megapixel camera on the pro model, upgraded chipsets and even Emergency SOS via Satellite.

But here’s something that went under the radar.

Kaiann Drance:

“Now, for the first time, all U.S. models no longer have the sim tray.”

A sim card is a portable memory chip that holds your phone carrier information, essentially tying your plan to the device.

eSim technology is all digital and used by a number of other smartphone makers.

Hartley Charlton, the Editor at MacRumors says the move will ease the process of switching devices or mobile carriers…

Hartley Charlton:

“they want a much cleaner setup experience so that you just simply hold your old phone near your new phone and over Bluetooth that eSim information just transfers over, it’s nice and easy.”

Brent Jabbour

While most major carriers throughout the world support eSim, Right to repair advocate Kyle Wiens raises a concern.

Kyle Wiens:

“most folks in the US and maybe Europe, you get a SIM card, once you stick it in your phone, you forget about it. But that’s not how the developing world works. every street vendor sells SIM cards and people swap them around a lot.”

Brent Jabbour:

With infrastructure globally lacking, what is Apple’s motivation for making the move now?

Hartley Charlton:

“When the iPhone is sort of reaching its limits in terms of its feature set, gaining a bit of internal space is very valuable. Although that can’t fully take place with the iPhone 14, because it’s only in the US that this has taken place.”

Kyle Wiens:

“They could, they could put batteries there like a headphone jack there. What they should do is put a micro SD card there.”

Brent Jabbour:

Even with these growing pains, widespread eSim adoption in smartphones appears inevitable.

Kyle Wiens:

Apple is sort of dragging the carrier world into the future here.”

“And I think the first year is going to be painful because most solid networks, cell carriers around the world don’t support eSim, but they should, they just need to get their systems in place.”

Hartley Charlton:

“Certainly within the next five years, I think we can see the SIM card, the physical SIM card being almost completely phased out.”

Brent Jabbour:

If you’re a jetsetter and concerned this could put a damper on connectivity, there’s a simple solution, hold off on the upgrade.

Kyle Wiens:

“Anyone buying a phone should really probably be thinking in the four to five year time horizon.”

“These things are not getting dramatically better every generation.”

Apple’s iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro offer a number of new features, including upgraded cameras, faster processors and emergency SOS via satellite. But dropping the physical SIM card tray in favor of a digital eSIM in U.S. models could have the biggest impact across the mobile phone landscape.

The Subscriber Identity Module card, or SIM card, is a portable memory chip that holds mobile carrier information. The card essentially ties the device to the provider and assigns a phone number for calls and messages. eSIM functions the same digitally, generally over Bluetooth, without the need for a physical chip.

Many mobile device manufacturers, including Apple, have supported eSIM in recent years, in tandem with traditional, physical SIM cards.

The transition will make it easier for iPhone users in the U.S. to switch devices or carriers moving forward.

“They [Apple] want a much cleaner setup experience so that you just simply hold your old phone near your new phone and over Bluetooth that eSim information just transfers over, it’s nice and easy,” Hartley Charlton, an editor at MacRumors told Straight Arrow News. “You’re not having to mess around with using a little tool you get in the box to move this very tiny little piece of plastic from one device to another. “

Most major carriers in developed countries support eSIM, but that’s not the case everywhere.

Most people “in the U.S. and maybe Europe, you get a SIM card, once you stick it in your phone, you forget about it,” said Kyle Wiens, a right-to-repair advocate and CEO of iFixIt. “But that’s not how the developing world works. Every street vendor sells SIM cards and people swap them around a lot.”

Experts believe one of the world’s most popular mobile phone makers moving exclusively to eSIM will drag the carriers that have been holding out into the future.

“Certainly within the next five years, I think we can see the SIM card, the physical SIM card being almost completely phased out, at least for smartphones, especially as the technology behind setting up eSIM is available,” Charlton predicted.

For iPhones to continue to get more powerful generation after generation, while also becoming more compact, Apple is going to have to take advantage of every millimeter of internal space.

“When the iPhone is reaching its limits in terms of its feature set, gaining a bit of internal space is very valuable,” Charlton added. “Although that can’t fully take place with the iPhone 14, because it’s only in the U.S. that this has taken place.”

With eSIM facing a soft rollout in the U.S., Apple won’t be taking advantage of that real estate in the iPhone 14.

“They could put batteries there, like a headphone jack there,” Wiens suggested. “What they should do is put a micro SD card there.”

Critics of the iPhone and Apple, in general, have been calling for native expandable storage, similar to that of many Android devices on the market.

Despite smartphone makers pushing out upgraded devices every single year, it’s not always required to make the leap.

“These things are not getting dramatically better every generation,” Wiens concluded. “Anyone buying a phone should really probably be thinking in the four- to five-year time horizon.”

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