Apple may release at least one iPhone with dual-SIM functionality this year. But a new report suggests it could be a China exclusive.
A source within Foxconn told Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News that a variant of this year’s 6.1-inch LCD iPhone with dual-SIM dual standby would be a “unique model for China.”
In other words, there’s a good chance that a dual-SIM iPhone is coming this year. But an Apple handset with that capability might not hit the U.S. or other Western markets for some time.
The Foxconn source also told EDN that Apple has already kicked off production for new iPhones, with four unique models on the docket. That suggests that the dual-SIM iPhone would be its own variant.
Well-connected TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo agrees that Apple will release a dual-SIM iPhone this year. Kuo previously forecasted that Apple is working on two separate models of its mid-range LCD iPhone — one with a single SIM tray and another with two SIM slots.
Kuo also suggested that Apple’s 6.5-inch OLED iPhone X Plus could sport dual-SIM functionality. But, for either device, he did not indicate that they’d exclusive to the Chinese market.
Of course, there’s a good reason why Apple would release a dual-SIM iPhone in China. While the capability hasn’t really taken off in the U.S., it’s actually extremely common for Chinese consumers to have smartphones with multiple SIM cards in them.
In fact, most Android devices made in China or for that market already sport dual-SIM capabilities — often with a physical tray that can support two cards. Introducing a dual-SIM iPhone is a no-brainer for Apple to remain competitive in what is likely the most important smartphone market in the world.
It’s worth noting that a separate supply chain report suggested that Apple could introduce dual-SIM functionality with a single physical card slot and its own embedded Apple SIM technology. Apple SIM isn’t available in China. If that rumor turns out to be true, that means it’s likely aimed at non-Chinese markets.
Because of that, Apple could be planning on introducing dual-SIM iPhones across the globe. But Apple SIM’s absence from China would demand a unique iPhone with two physical card slots.
Dual-SIM card capabilities are just one thing that’ll make the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone an extremely attractive choice for consumers — particularly in China, where larger smartphones are popular.
The device is largely expected to sport iPhone X-style features like Face ID and an edge-to-edge display. But according to Kuo, it could retail as low as $550 to $650 for a single-SIM handset and $650 to $750 for a dual-SIM device.