Around this time, each year, the whole world awaits the next iteration of the iPhone to be announced. This year was no different and despite the confusing nomenclature, the new iPhone models, XS, XS Max and XR are already generating a lot of buzz. One big change this year is the introduction of dual SIM support for iPhones. Android phone users have almost taken this feature for granted, so what’s new that Apple introduced? Meet the eSIM.
What exactly is an eSIM?
Simply put, an eSIM is an embedded SIM on the main logic board. It is not a physical SIM card that we are used to. It will ensure that your account from your service provider will be linked directly to your phone. Think of it like any other component soldered onto your phone’s SoC. We’ve already seen eSIM being used on the Cellular version of the Apple Watch Series 3 & the 1st gen iPad Pro before.
Fun fact: According to a report by by ResearchandMarkets.com, the global eSIM market is estimated to grow from USD 253.8 million in 2018 to USD 978.3 million by 2023.
Apple has worked with local service providers in several countries to ensure that their users aren’t inconvenienced. As long as your service provider supports eSIM on smartphones, there is no need to worry. Apple have retained the SIM card tray in the new iPhone XS and XS Max models. So if all else fails, you can keep using your existing nano-SIM.
However, if you’re lucky, you can use an iPhone with dual SIMs. The functionality will also be available with the iPhone XR, which is releasing later.
What is the need for an eSIM anyway?
Every component in the phone needs some space. By eliminating the need for an extra SIM card and still giving that functionality, Apple has managed to utilise the frame of the new iPhones cleverly. They have made bold calls before by eliminating optical drives from their laptops and headphone jacks from previous iPhone models, so this move is not a bolt out of the blue.
They are a company known to have a keen eye on product design and will continue pushing the envelope for radical changes. This allows them to innovate with new features which may or may not be available in the Android world.
Also, an eSIM allows for an ‘over-the-air’ (OTA) re-provisioning of a phone number. This should also technically mean that Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will be much simpler but we’ll have to wait and see how exactly it gets implemented. Presumably within an app or simply by entering a One Time Password (OTP) in a website should activate any new number.
How will an eSIM work on the iPhone XS?
Since a physical SIM card is not involved, a simple phone call to your phone service provider should be good enough to get the eSIM activated. In India, Jio & Airtel will support eSIM. And since the new iPhone XS will already have an eSIM, all you need to do is use the app of your service provider to link your account with your number and activate it on the new device. No need to worry about wear & tear of the physical SIM card anymore, which usually lead to connectivity issues.
This will essentially make your existing SIM card with the same number inactive.
Going to get an eSIM?
So, are you looking forward to the next evolution of the handy old SIM card? Apple has thoughtfully already got a support article on exactly how dual SIM functionality will work on their new iPhones. So, if you are interested in buying the new iPhones, do get in touch with us with your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org.