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Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of reports from technology media outlets like MacRumors about the possibility of Apple removing the SIM card tray from the iPhone 14. At first, I couldn’t imagine Apple launching a phone without something as important as a SIM card slot, but then I remembered that in 2016 I couldn’t imagine a phone without an audio jack – but here we are.
Since I found this a bit strange, I asked several sources within Apple if they could tell me if this information was legitimate. Let me forewarn you that the answer is not at all clear.
My sources in engineering have told me that they work with several iPhone logic boards that do not include a SIM card slot. However, they also work with logic boards that do have a SIM card slot.
They told me that this is the first year that they have received a significant number of logic cards that do not include a SIM card slot. I asked several more engineers, and they all told me the same thing. Apple is apparently focused on removing the SIM card slot. Especially this year.
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But, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Apple is working on dozens of different prototypes before the final product hits the market. And those logic boards could very well be something that never sees the light of day.
Remember the portless iPhones Apple was working on alongside the iPhone 12? We all thought Apple would release them, but that wasn’t the case.
I then asked sources in marketing, and they told me that they currently have no word from the company on whether they need to market a phone with or without a SIM card slot – which according to them, indicates that this may not be the year Apple removes it. If the company were to do it this time, the marketing team would have been informed in advance, as this will certainly be a controversial move for the average tech consumer.
However, I have interviewed several people at Apple who are in contact with phone and data service providers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon, and Apple is advising them to prepare for future eSIM iPhones that will not include physical SIM card slots.
Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Future iPhones could be the iPhone 15 or the iPhone 16. Apple is extremely vague about these things and does it on purpose to avoid leaks. And they’re right; if Apple wasn’t so vague, I could tell you right now with 100% certainty whether or not the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro will have SIM card slots. I can’t, so I asked even more people.
I realized that if there were people who would know about this, these are my sources in the Apple supply chain. I went ahead and asked them about it, and they told me that there are currently prototypes with and without the SIM card slot. But they indicated that the number of iPhone prototypes without a card tray is greater than the number of prototypes with a card tray, which is very interesting.
As you can see, it’s not always easy to leak information. I usually do not like to take chances and try to guess based on what my sources tell me. I don’t think that’s moral because then my track record would be based on luck, and I want it to be based on facts. I prefer to tell you what they say and then let you make a decision based on that information and your own opinions.
But considering how cautious Apple is when it comes to radically changing anything about the iPhone, I would not normally expect something like this to be changed in the first year it’s rumored. That being said, Apple removed the audio jack when no one thought it could happen, so I can very well imagine the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lacking a physical SIM tray.
I don’t know if this change will apply to all markets, as some of them don’t really have SIM alternatives. If it does, it will likely be limited to North America and the European Union. Some parts of Asia might be included as well. We will have to wait and see.
In summary, it’s not clear whether or not Apple will continue to sell iPhones with physical SIM card slots. On the other hand, Apple executives could try to radically change the market the same way they did with the removal of the audio jack from the iPhone 7 or the charger from the iPhone 12’s box.
At first, they were laughed at by all the other phone makers, but they soon copied Apple just a few months later. I believe it’s possible, but if it happens, it will be limited to certain markets where eSIM adoption isn’t considered science fiction.
Expect some updates on this topic here and on my Twitter account. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something new. Let me know what you think about this situation in the comments. I hope you’re having a great day, and thanks so much for reading!
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]