eSIM Technology on Apple iPhone XS, XS Max Explained

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For the first time in history, the Cupertino giant Apple has announced dual-SIM iPhones. This move comes as a surprise since Apple has been known to be running away from the dual SIM model even though the other smartphones giants had embraced it way back. However, there’s a catch to Apple’s dual-SIM offering, and it’s quite different from what many would expect. The new Apple iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR smartphones will come with an eSIM and a single SIM tray option. However, things will be entirely different in China as the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR there will come with the dual-SIM slot. Without further ado, let’s dive right in and learn about how the eSIM is going to stir up things.


eSIM Explained

Unlike what you’d expect, an eSIM does not mean ‘electronic’ SIM instead it stands for an embedded SIM card. With the eSIM iPhone model, the phone will come with an embedded SIM which will be soldered right on to the motherboard of the phone. The SIM will also have unique identifiers - the ISMIs which will make it similar to the standard SIM cards in function. The new eSIM will also provide the flexibility to function with any carrier instead of just sticking to one carrier like it is usually the case with standard SIMs. Another noteworthy thing is that this won’t be the first time that Apple would be using eSIM. Previously the tech giant has been known to use eSIM in Apple Watch and iPad already. The eSIM will come with associated tariff charges and allowance of phone calls, text and messages which the users will be able to change depending on the provider.

The coming of dual SIM iPhones is expected to bring a much more favourable environment for the iOS since India has been a market dominated by dual SIM phones. Many people have chosen other premium phones like Samsung S9 over the iPhone X only because they offered dual SIM capability. However, now the dual SIM capability in the iPhone means that it will be easier for the users to carry two numbers on a single device. Further, the dual-SIM iPhone will also be especially appealing to the travellers.


Advantages of eSIM

There is no doubt that the eSIM hardware technology allows for much more innovation, and it steps ahead of the standard SIM technology. For the smartphone manufacturers, using an eSIM would mean fewer chances of water damage and hardware wear and tear since it would mean one less point of failure. Further, the hassle of inserting and taking out SIMs while changing carriers would also be done away with. For the telecom operators, it would mean that now they wouldn’t have to manufacture and distribute a large number of SIM cards.

According to GSMA also, eSIM offers some excellent advantages like “end users enjoy a seamless experience on a plethora of devices, knowing they are securely and intelligently connected to ubiquitous mobile networks. This remotely provisionable SIM is the vital enabler for the future growth of the machine to machine market.”

With that being said, there’s also no denying that being a relatively new technology, the eSIM will also have a few drawbacks. Like the standard SIM card, it wouldn’t be easy to swap on to other phones in case your battery dies. Also, there is no explicit support from a few carriers on the eSIM. Further, the tariffs, charges and the time that it would take for the eSIM to register with a carrier or to switch to another carrier is going to be another hurdle in its adoption.

Reported By


Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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