Various trustworthy rumors, along with the loss of iOS 12 beta code, suggests that Apple is preparing to provide dual-SIM card support for the iPhone for the first time with this year's new models. The delayed addition of the feature would be a bit surprising because Apple did not seem to be impoverished with SIM cards in the first place. (See the virtual SIM card embedded in LTE versions of iPad and Apple Watch.) So why should Apple make the move now?
Although not common in the United States, dual SIM support is an important feature for people in many other regions that offer it, will change the way iPhone is used across the globe. The biggest question, however, is whether these are the users Apple will actually target with the support.
Why would anyone have it? In regions where people tend to buy unlocked phones instead of subsidized transport contracts, the most important advantage was historically that you could avoid roaming charges. In China, phone numbers have long been linked to your local region. For example, if you moved from Beijing to Shanghai, you will need to get a new SIM card. Until last year, Chinese airlines have also paid roaming charges and made longer domestic calls more expensive. Dual SIM devices allowed people to get around these issues with minimal fuss. Europeans also had to handle higher charges when crossing borders to the EU was regulated and eventually abolished roaming charges.
More recently, the spread of modern smartphones has led to different usage cases for dual SIM phones. Because there are so many options for mobile service plans that vary focusing on phone calls, messages, and data, it can often save you two lines simultaneously for different purposes. Depending on your region, it may also be useful to switch between carriers as needed to get the best possible coverage at a particular location. Both of these factors have been the key to the widespread adoption of dual SIM smartphones in parts of the world such as India and Africa, where users are price sensitive and network infrastructure is still developing.
However, Apple has not shown any willingness to break its high margin business model to get more users in cost-conscious regions. Tim Cook often talks about the possibility in India, but as long as the company's main game in the country is a 4-inch phone with three-year-old specifications that sell for $ 400, it's hard to imagine a brand new dual SIM iPhone makes a big difference. Apple is very much out of the ordinary Indian market and it is unlikely that the lack of dual-SIM support would be the only deal switch for many people. The same goes for other major markets like Brazil and Russia.
There are actually reports that indicate that the dual-SIM iPhone can be a single variant of China in the brand new lower model with a 6.1-inch LCD monitor. ( Bloomberg seems to think that it would also apply to a 6.5-inch OLED model.) It would be easier to believe that China is a more immediately favored market for Apple, and it's the only In the world where dual SIM support is a standard expectation for high-end devices. Even ultra-advanced phones like Vivo NEX have two SIM card slots, like all flagship devices from Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and so on. Foreign companies like Samsung, meanwhile, are developing China-specific dual SIM variants of phones like the Galaxy S9.
It's the more likely outcome for a dual-SIM iPhone: it's a matter of convenience for China instead of cost-effectiveness for emerging markets. China is the only place with a significant number of customers who have the ability to buy an iPhone but will consider the lack of dual-SIM support, a strike against it.
As such, it would not be surprising to see Apple completely restrict dual-SIM sales to China. Conversely, it would be hugely surprising if Apple were to sell such a model in the United States and beyond. It's not a feature that Americans are used to, carriers would be upset, and Apple probably does not assume that the SIM card is more desirable than the long-term headphone jack. It just does not feel like the kind of technology that Apple would throw its philosophical weight on the global scale. If you want to buy a dual-SIM phone in the United States, the best games OnePlus 6 and Honor View 10, which are not by chance, are two Chinese phones sold exclusively unlocked.
Of course, it's Apple, so you never know what's going to happen before everything is announced on stage, something that seems to happen in the next two weeks or so. Perhaps Apple will bring dual-SIM support to more regions, after all. Perhaps there will be some kind of solution that involves a built-in Apple SIM and the traditional track. What seems clear is that Apple intends to take care of the concerns of at least some customers who want more control over the carriers they are using – and for now, China's only means.