Technology

Dual-SIM iPhone Almost Confirmed, Thanks To Chinese Carriers

dual-SIM iPhone
Image Source: Facebook/China Mobile (screenshot)

Apple’s new iPhones are now just days away from launch with an event scheduled for Sept. 12. Apple is expected to announce three new iPhones at the event, and at least one of them will likely be a dual-SIM iPhone. This latest information about the dual-SIM iPhone comes from China.

Dual-SIM iPhone almost confirmed now

China Mobile, which is one of China’s top carriers, hinted about the dual-SIM iPhone in a Facebook post.

“The new fruit supports two SIM cards?” — suggesting the iPhone X successors will feature dual-SIM,” reads the post on China Mobile’s Facebook page.

A similar poster from another top Chinese carrier, China Telecom, also hinted at a dual-SIM iPhone. The poster shows an iPhone with a dual-SIM tray popping out.

“The new iPhone is on the market. Double card, full network. You’re late, I’ve been waiting. Dual card, dual network, dual 4G,” reads the text on the poster (as translated).

On Weibo, someone else posted what they claim to be an internal presentation slide from China Mobile. The leaked slide reveals many details about the new iPhones, including the dual-SIM feature. According to the slide, three new iPhones will be announced at this week’s event: the 6.1-inch iPhone XC, 5.8-inch iPhone XS and 6.5-inch iPhone XS Plus.

Further, the slide hints that there will be dual-SIM variants of both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Plus. This contradicts earlier reports that only the cheaper model would be the dual-SIM iPhone. The slide also reveals the probable prices of the new iPhones: the XS Plus at about $1,000, the iPhone XS at around $900 and the iPhone XC at $699. The slide also suggests the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus will hit store shelves on Sept. 21, while the iPhone XC will arrive a month later.

Apart from these, references to the dual-SIM feature were also discovered in iOS 12. For instance, several users reported coming across terms like “second SIM status,” “second SIM tray status,” or “dual SIM device” in iOS 12.

Very useful for Chinese users

Rumors about a dual-SIM iPhone have been around for some time now. Now, thanks to Chinese carriers, it is almost confirmed that Apple will finally come up with a dual-SIM feature, something that users in countries like China and India have long been asking for. For users in the West, an additional SIM card slot might be a redundant feature, but for users in emerging countries, especially China, it a very useful feature.  For this reason, it is believed that the dual-SIM iPhone will be region-specific.

A dual-SIM feature is extremely practical for Chinese users who are working in Hong Kong but live in China. Such users often swap SIMs to escape roaming fees. A dual-SIM iPhone would allow the to keep both of their SIM cards in one device, thus avoiding the inconvenience of having to switch them out based on which city they’re in. Users in emerging markets also use two SIM cards to take advantage of the different plans offered by carriers.

Other products expected at event

In addition to the new iPhones, Apple is expected to announce other new products at this week’s event, including a new iteration of its smartwatch. The new Apple Watch is expected to feature a similar design as the current-gen models, but with a marginally bigger screen squeezed into the same size body.

The Apple Watch is not a big hit like the iPhone, but sales are growing steadily. According to data from Canalys, the U.S. firm shipped 3.5 million units in the second quarter of this year, while it shipped 41 million iPhones in the same quarter.

Apple may use its event to launch a new iPad Pro model as well, although this is less likely. The company only recently launched a new, less expensive version of the iPad in March, and in June 2017, it released a refreshed second-generation version of the iPad Pro. Any new iPad this year will likely reflect the changes that came with the iPhone X last year, like ditching the home button and adding Face ID.

Unlike the iPhone, Apple’s tablets have failed to encourage buyers to upgrade regularly. Over the past two years, sales of the iPad have been in the range of 9 million to 13 million units, compared to 26 million in the first quarter of 2014.