We've become used to seeing Apple announce new products, including hardware and software, to just delay their actual launch or availability. The same thing happened yesterday when Apple revealed a host of exciting devices and new features. However, some of these devices, namely iPhone XR, will not be available for pre-order until October. And one of iPhones latest tricks will not start for a while, not even on the iPhone XS phones that hit stores next week.
For the first time in over a decade, Apple launched dual SIM phones. All three iPhones will support two SIMs, but the feature will not be available immediately. As Apple explained during the event on Wednesday, it will send two types of iPhones when it comes to dual-SIM support.
In China, buyers will be able to use two physical nano SIMs with all three iPhones, including iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.
In Europe and the United States, the feature is both more exciting than it and more annoying. Apple also introduces eSIM, a first to iPhone, the virtual SIM card that is already available on iPads and Apple Watch models that support LTE.
However, as Apple notes on the pages, eSIM support will be enabled later, probably via an iOS 12 update, and it will be great degree depends on your local operator:
eSIM will be available later this year through a software update. The use of eSIM requires a wireless service plan (which may include restrictions on switching service providers and roaming, even after contract expiry). Not all carriers support eSIM. Using eSIM on iPhone may be disabled when purchased from any carrier. See your operator for details.
For years, we have heard rumors that Apple is pushing eSIM functionality for its iPhones, and carriers are pushing for it. It is unclear at this time if Apple's fault for not having eSIM support included in the first iOS 12 release or carriers.
While you're waiting for iPhone XS or XR to appear and Apple has eSIM capabilities available, you can check out the Apple Help page that provides detailed explanations of how eSIM will work on the new iPhones.
This page makes it clear that you must purchase an unlocked iPhone to utilize eSIM functionality. Then everything depends on your carrier. Spoiler notification, only a few of them support eSIM right now.
The page also explains how to set up a mobile plan with eSIM and how to use the phone for text and conversations while using two SIMs. Apple explains that each SIM card will have its own label in apps so it's always clear which one you're using. You can also use a SIM card for data and routing text and conversations to the other, if you wish. Data will only work on a single SIM card at a time. It also explains how iMessage and FaceTime work, depending on which SIM is selected as your primary phone number. Apple 19659006
Apple also explains that your phone will remember which SIM card you used to call one of your contacts and return to that number. if you do not override it manually.
Although dual SIM functionality will add a complexity layer to the Messages and Phone app, everything seems intuitive enough. In other words, it should all "just work" when Apple rolls out eSIM support.
If you want to rock two physical SIM cards in the iPhone, you should purchase yours from Asia and check this support page for instructions.