In addition to exciting and sometimes even surprising innovations such as the so-called “Dynamic Island”, Apple casually announced another significant change in the course of the official presentation of its iPhone 14, which was rather lost in many reports. In the US, all iPhone 14 models are delivered without a physical SIM card slot.
Nothing will change for German and European buyers of the iPhone 14 for the time being, but it is only a matter of time before Apple heralds the end of the traditional SIM card in this country as well. The supposedly more practical but in any case also more environmentally friendly eSIM will serve as a replacement, which has already been supported by all Apple smartphones since the iPhone XS and iPhone XR released in 2018.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of critical reactions from potential customers in various forums, which address the obvious disadvantages of the Apple iPhone 14, which relies exclusively on eSim. In the nearly 700 comments at MacRumors For example, it is pointed out that it will soon be much more difficult for American travelers to operate their iPhone 14 with a local SIM card for their holiday destination.
For frequent travelers, the US model of the iPhone 14 might not be a good choice
The eSIM change in smartphones such as the iPhone 14 (from 999 euros at Amazon) are theoretically much more convenient than with a traditional SIM card. In reality, however, this has unfortunately been different so far. Smaller mobile phone providers in particular, who offer by far the best price-performance ratio with their prepaid tariffs in some holiday countries, have not yet had the eSIM in their range, or have implemented this technology rather poorly than correctly.
Added to this are the geographic restrictions that Apple strictly enforces in its App Store. With many providers, the registration and installation of an eSIM takes place via a corresponding iOS app, which can often only be found in the app store of the respective country. Without a local Apple ID, this is already the end of the site. Alternatively, in some cases the registration can be carried out via a website and the subsequent activation of the eSIM via the QR code sent, which often does not turn out to be particularly intuitive. The last alternative is data roaming, which is outrageously expensive in many places, which should make the profit-hungry mobile phone providers in the USA particularly happy.
iPhone 14 eSIM exclusivity gives carriers more control when switching devices
But prospective owners of an iPhone 14 in the USA could also fuel a rather unpleasant trend at home. Unlike a physical SIM card, an eSIM cannot simply be pushed into the new mobile device during a smartphone upgrade. Sometimes a new activation code has to be requested from the provider for this purpose, which can, for example, charge a one-time fee for the effort. Under iOS 16, however, there should also be a simplified one eSIM transfer be possible, provided that the provider allows this.
In the worst case, operators could also simply refuse to activate an eSIM on a third-party device. In the United States, most customers still buy their new smartphone directly through the carrier in order to pay off outrageously expensive devices like the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which costs up to $1,599 in installments. If you prefer to buy your new iPhone directly from Apple at full price instead, the potential eSIM patronage of some providers should at least be floating around in the back of your mind.
Progress for progress’s sake?
Ultimately, there are several understandable arguments as to why the omission of the physical SIM card slot in the iPhone 14 was a bit hasty. Parallels can certainly be drawn here with the abolition of the 3.5mm jack connection, which was sharply criticized at the time and which, due to the popularity of wireless headphones, has proven to be groundbreaking even six years after the release of the iPhone 7.
It is also questionable why the end of the SIM slot is currently only being pushed in the USA. With the slightly more advanced eSIM adoption and a monstrous 50 percent market share Apple can simply afford to alienate a relatively small group of potential buyers with the iPhone 14, who may currently still see the eSIM requirement as a curse.
In the long term, however, there is little doubt that sooner or later the eSIM will become widespread. Anyone who does not yet want to bow to this progress would still be able to buy the still excellent iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 in the USA, and the more affordable iPhone SE 2022 can still be operated with a physical SIM as well as a new eSIM and thus currently offers the best of both SIM worlds.
Tag: iphone design, iphone 14, apple iphone, iphone release