A teaser graphic posted by China Mobile on social media has renewed speculation that Apple's 2018 iPhones will carry a feature some users have waited years for: dual SIM support.
Depending on where you live and how you use your phone, this is potentially a huge deal. Dual SIM phones feature slots for two SIM cards, but up until now the feature has primarily been reserved for Android phones sold in Asia. They're favored by business clients who travel often and rely on multiple carriers when they're home or away.
Dual SIM slots allow your phone to run on different networks without forcing you to fiddle with swapping those pesky little paper cards that are so easy to lose. In certain parts of the world, though, they're not so much a luxury, but a necessity.
Some overseas carriers offer competitive rates for calls and texts, while other provide reasonable data-only plans. By mixing and matching SIM cards, users in countries like India and China can actually save money.
While the potential for a dual SIM iPhone is looking stronger with every leak, there's no certainty that the dual SIM variants will arrive in the West. According to GSMArena, which uncovered the teaser, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone — reported to be the least expensive of the three new models and possibly called the iPhone Xc — may be the only new Apple handset with the ability to house two SIM cards. However, the iPhone Xc we see here may be stuck with the good old-fashioned single SIM bay, along with the rumored iPhone XS and XS Max.
It's believed Apple may elect to go the dual SIM route in the face of steep competition from Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. The current batch of iPhones are reportedly performing reasonably well in China; in Q2 2018 for example, Apple's year-over-year growth was flat while domestic competitors mostly lost market share to Huawei, based on data from Counterpoint Research by way of Apple Insider.
Dual SIM functionality might not be particularly noteworthy on this side of the Pacific, but it could greatly impact the iPhone's global success. And if you travel a lot, it's a feature you'd be wise to make use of, too.