Is Apple Making a Dual-SIM iPhone?

September 5, 2018 - 3 minutes read

If you’re a U.S. reader, you’ve likely never seen the point of having a dual-SIM card smartphone. But for the rest of the world, dual-SIM card phones are very much needed. In fact, combining lack of dual-SIM support with the iPhone’s entry price in most┬ámarkets abroad has stunted Apple’s growth in countries like India, China, and most of Africa.

But is Apple even targeting these countries with the inclusion of dual-SIM phones?

A Mysterious Addition?

A curious iOS developer read through the iOS 12 beta code to find that Apple’s building support for dual-SIM cards in the new 2018 iPhone models. It’s a weird and unexpected addition to the code because Apple’s been trying to avoid SIM cards in general; they even embedded a virtual SIM card in the LTE-enabled iPad and Apple Watch to avoid the need for a physical SIM card.

Dual-SIM card-enabled phones are actually really cool; they allow users to have two different cell phone numbers that register with the same phone, so there’s no need for a business line and a personal line requiring two different devices.

Additionally, in areas with huge roaming fees, using another number that’s on another network can help avoid those charges. This type of roaming issue is important for Europeans, who often travel across the border to other European nations.

Having two SIM cards on two different networks also keeps your network coverage strong when traveling. In places like India and Africa, poor network infrastructure and spotty reception can be circumvented with two SIM cards.

Historically Low Market Shares

Unfortunately, after years of low Apple penetration in these markets combined with outdated iPhones sold for a small percent of their original price, Apple introducing dual-SIM card functionality is unlikely to change anything in India, China, or Africa.

With Chinese smartphone manufacturers shipping dual-SIM-enabled phones by default, both India and China have many more options than just Apple or Samsung. And these Chinese-manufactured phones often have cameras that are on par with the iPhone’s.

But Chinese consumers are more likely to pay for a high-end smartphone, compared to India and Africa. Apple’s market reach just might resonate with Chinese consumers. Either way, while speculation is fun, we won’t really know what the San Francisco-based developer’s intentions are until they’re officially announced.

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