There is always intense speculation about what Apple might release when a new product launch draws near. Based on past trends and clues from around the place, we can probably expect some new iPhones around September this year – experts say there will be three. Most predictions are based on good guesses, past trends, current technology, manufacturing and fabrication evidence, and speculation from insiders. This time, iPhone fans have something a little more concrete to go on.
Either Apple have been careless or they didn’t mind people knowing, but the iOS 12 beta that was recently launched contains references to an additional feature not currently found on any iPhone models. Within the code, references to “secondSimStatus” and “secondSimTrayStatus” can be found, as well as “simStatus” and “simTrayStatus”, showing that there is some capability for two different SIMs on a single device.
It has been speculated that Apple would use their embedded SIM or eSIM, called Apple SIM. However, most phone companies are not compatible with this new technology. The wording appears to refer to an actual physical second tray, meaning that two physical SIM cards can possible be used in at least one of the iPhones expected to be released around September.
Dual SIM Phones
Phones that can handle two SIM cards and therefore two numbers from separate networks have been around a long time, but Apple has not yet seen fit to include the feature in any of its iPhones. The popularity of the function varies widely depending on the country and area.
In many Asian countries for example, it is significantly cheaper to text and call people on the same network. With a small number of networks, most people have a number for each to accommodate for friends and family who might be on other networks. Some people use two phones, but that can be logistically and financially difficult to manage.
A dual-SIM phone allows people to have two numbers on the same phone, which has a wide number of practical applications. People who like to travel and have a phone that is not locked to a network can use a foreign SIM while overseas without having to remove their primary SIM. Some people have a private number and a number for business purposes, and the dual-SIM function allows them to do both without having to have two devices.
As previously mentioned, in some countries and areas there are only a very small number of network choices, and consumers can save a lot of money by taking advantage of cheaper rates between people on the same network. It might not be a feature that everyone can get excited about, but to those that use it, dual-SIM capability makes their life easier.
While people who like to stay updated on possible features to be announced in the latest Apple release might be thrilled at some concrete evidence about new features, it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. Aside from the fact that dual-SIM capability is a relatively unimportant feature for most Australian consumers, we may not have access to the feature anyway.
There has been speculation that the feature could be released only in one out of the three possible new iPhones (most likely the biggest one). It is also likely that the dual-SIM iPhone might only be available in areas where the feature is considered highly desirable. With the Asian market open to Apple products like never before, it’s not unreasonable to think that Apple might make an effort to include an extra feature that will potentially boost sales in that area.
The Future of the SIM
The Apple embedded SIM is most likely the way of the future. eSIMs can be used to change carriers and plans without needing to change physical SIM cards. eSIMs will have all of the benefits of dual-SIM capability but take up significantly less space within the device (leaving extra space for new features) and will make it much easier to change plans and networks, or have multiple numbers on one phone.
The eSIM has far more potential in the long term than the ability to have two physical SIM cards on a single device, but the networks have not yet caught up. While it may be the way of the future, for now the new iPhone with two SIMs offers customers the most flexible way to have more than one number. It might not be the most exciting reveal in terms of new Apple technology, but it gives iPhone fans just one more reason to eagerly anticipate the launch of the new iPhones later this year.