Apple’s new iPhone 14 will not come with a physical SIM card tray anymore in the US, the company revealed at its product launch event on Wednesday.
The tech giant announced that the latest iPhone model – at least in the US – will rely completely on an eSIM affixed to the phone’s motherboard that cannot be removed physically.
This has some advantages, including letting users set up the new phone within the software without the possibility of the SIM being stolen or lost.
Apple also explained the benefits of an eSIM during the launch, including more privacy and the possibility of adding many numbers digitally.
eSIMs also enable carriers or device makers to roll out software updates if security vulnerabilities are detected, experts said.
“You can suddenly send out a security update to millions of people globally if an issue is found. You can’t do that with physical SIMs,” Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at the eSIM software company Amdocs, had told The Washington Post in July.
GlobalData analyst Emma Mohr-McClune had predicted earlier this year that Apple may launch “an eSIM-only variant of its upcoming new model”.
“An eSIM-only iPhone was always a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’,” Ms Mohr-McClune had said in January, according to Apple news portal 9to5Mac.
But the new move could also make things difficult for some iPhone users traveling abroad, as highlighted by some Twitter users following the announcement.
Usually, when US citizens traveled outside the country, one of the easiest means to continue using their iPhones abroad while avoiding roaming charges is to get an additional local SIM card at their destination.
However, that does not seem possible with the iPhone 14.
“Now no SIM card so if you’re traveling, you’re forced to pay for international roaming on your eSIM from US carriers?” asked one Twitter user.
While some parts of the world have quickly taken up eSIM technology – and it is readily available to port to different networks – carriers in some countries may not allow a cost-effective and hassle-free transition yet.
This may leave some US iPhone users traveling abroad unable to avoid roaming charges in a few countries.