Trawling through iOS 12 developer beta 5 has revealed references to a "secondSim", implying that dual-SIM support might be coming to future models of the iPhone.
The code itself is located in a diagnostics report section of the software. Although iOS 12 will run on devices running from the iPhone 5S to the iPhone X and iPhone 8, none of these handsets have the hardware to support running two SIM cards — suggesting dual-SIM functionality might be about to come to the iPhone 9.
Dual-SIM functionality is something that’s always been more popular in the developing world than in the west. Users will often have multiple SIM cards to take advantage of lower tariffs on different networks.
But being able to equip your phone with two SIM cards is very useful for anyone that has to carry a second device around for work, or frequently has to travel abroad and suffer excessive roaming rates.
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Hardware or Software SIMs?
What this code doesn’t tell us is whether the second SIM will be hardware or software based. Software SIMs (or eSIMs) have existed for a while, but they’ve never really taken off in consumer devices.
Considering Apple was so eager to save on internal space that it removed the 3.5mm headphone jack, we can’t see it rushing to build a second SIM slot into every handset.
eSIMs haven’t taken off yet, but Apple has a habit of propelling pre-existing niche technologies into the mainstream by adopting it on a massive scale and streamlining the user experience to allow it to make sense for mainstream consumers. It has also used eSIMs before in the Apple Watch Series 3.
It’s not unreasonable to suggest it could do the same for eSIMs. No other phone company is big enough to single handedly convince the world’s numerous mobile operators to embrace a new technology, but Apple could just about manage it.
For now this is an unconfirmed feature, but it’s something else to look forward to with Apple’s upcoming hardware.
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