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Apple moves the iPhone away from physical SIMs
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-09-13 21:51:17

On Wednesday, Apple announced that its new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max will use an eSIM - a purely electronic SIM that allows users to maintain a secondary phone line in a single device. That line could be a secondary domestic line (say you're a journalist and don't want to have separate personal and work iPhones), or the phone could have an American and Canadian number (if you travel across the border frequently).

These handsets will have a new "dual SIM dual standby" option, one of which will be a nano SIM. In other words, they will have two distinct phone numbers. (Chinese models will have two SIM slots instead of the eSIM option.)

I'm by no means an expert, but something about soldered electronic SIM cards seems unpleasant about me - it seems like another bit of control over our devices handed over to device makers and carriers. Won't this make it easier to lock devices even more?

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40
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Nah
By andywoe on 2018-09-13 22:17:32
Whaaaat? eSIM is programmable, making it much easier to switch (assuming your carrier supports it)

I've switched eSIM carrier twice without problems... no waiting for sim card in mail. Roaming benefits too.
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I actually wonder if slamming might be the bigger worry
By bhtooefr on 2018-09-13 22:20:41
eSIMs seem to have standards to allow any carrier to push a SIM application to a phone, so that unlocked eSIM devices can happen.

Slamming is a practice that's happened for wired phone service in the US, where in the wake of telephone deregulation, long distance telephone service providers could easily change anyone's long distance service without their consent or even knowledge.

I wonder if the same thing could happen to eSIM-equipped devices...

Also worth noting that CDMA devices (before LTE) in the US have always had identity as something that gets programmed into the phone - the combination of the ESN/MEID (permanently assigned), MSID (internal phone network identifier, originally your phone number before number portability), and MDN (your phone number) identifies your phone to the networks. Unlocked devices existed just fine on the small regional carriers with that arrangement. (However, the major CDMA carriers were both locked, and had allowlists of what ESN/MEIDs they'd accept on their networks, back in the day.) Activating a phone was a matter of notifying the carrier of what ESN/MEID you wanted activated, and putting the new MSID and MDN in through the keypad (I think there were a couple other things that you changed when changing carriers, and then a command to get roaming lists whenever you activated it?)

Edited 2018-09-13 22:25 UTC
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Agreed
By Munchkinguy on 2018-09-14 01:27:48
It's definitely easier to swap SIM cards between phones, rather than depending on your carrier to reprogram them. I have a backup phone that I like to use when I travel. You can't really get much simpler than popping a SIM out of one phone and sticking it in the other.
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more US centrism
By unclefester on 2018-09-14 01:42:56
The US tech industry seems blissfully unaware that the US is a mere 3% of the world's population. People do things differently in other countries.

In Australia eSims are only available postpaid with a AUD5/month extra charge.
https://www.whistleout.com.au/Mob...
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RE: Agreed
By WorknMan on 2018-09-14 02:31:23
> You can't really get much simpler than popping a SIM out of one phone and sticking it in the other.

I dunno... some phones (like the XZ1 Compact) make it a bit of a pain in the ass to swap them. Plus, imagine if you could swap SIMs using software. If you have multiple phones (say, your regular work horse, and then a cheaper one for outdoor activities), you could just hit a button and say 'make this my active phone'.
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Innovation
By Soulbender on 2018-09-14 04:20:20
Breaking: Apple invents dual-sim phones.
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RE[2]: Agreed
By Soulbender on 2018-09-14 04:21:23
You know there are many phones with two sim slots, right?
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Final death knell of european cell phone business
By dsmogor on 2018-09-14 05:41:21
Sim cards are remnant of Europe's dominance in cell phone industry as the technology was developed and produced in Europe so that was a natural match. Now that it has died off, the last traces are being obsoleted and removed.
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govt
By xfire on 2018-09-14 06:33:01
Hah another surveillance feature we DON'T need, you cannot even take out the simcard anymore. Although iphones, androids are loaded with tons of phone home software this is another move to destroy your privacy completely. At the end the best move will be going back to landline like Richard Stallman.
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RE: Innovation
By leech on 2018-09-14 06:33:52
Yeah, isn't it funny how this always gets twisted. Apparently there is a dual sim version of the Note 8 out there, and that came out a year ago. But I've seen MANY dual SIM phones out there (yeah they are actual SIM cards rather than an eSIM plus extra SIM. Why don't they just use that as a MicroSD card, which would be more useful to more of their users?

But of course it's an Apple 'innovation'.
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