Analyst: Some iPhone 14 handsets to be eSIM-only but nano SIMs will remain an option

Iphone 11 Pro Sim Card Hero
Iphone 11 Pro Sim Card Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is rumored to be readying carriers for an eSIM-only iPhone 14.
  • One analyst believes it was only a matter of time before Apple ditched the SIM card tray.
  • It's thought that Apple will still offer a nano SIM option to carriers.

Apple has previously been rumored to have plans to ditch the SIM card tray on its upcoming iPhone 14 models and now an analyst has weighed in on the possibility that Apple could go eSIM-only in 2022.

Emma Mohr-McClune, a Technology Service Director at GlobalData, says that it was only a matter of time until Apple launched an iPhone without a SIM card tray. And while recent rumors have that happening with iPhone 14, Mohr-McClune doesn't expect it to be the only option given to carriers.

Instead, it's thought carriers will also have the option to sell iPhones with the nano SIM intact.

We don't believe that Apple will take the 'big bang' approach—getting rid of existing systems and transferring all users to eSIMs—but rather launch an eSIM-only variant of its upcoming new model—retaining the dual eSIM-plus-physical SIM slot model for the mass market and its key carrier channel.To that end, we believe telecom companies will be given the choice of whether to stock and sell a new eSIM-only iPhone variation alongside more cellular business-friendly dual eSIM/physical SIM support models.

An eSIM allows people to buy carrier service right on their device and it's the way iPads currently connect to 4G and 5G cellular networks. Apple's iPhone already offer such connectivity but with nano SIM being the primary source of service.

Apple was rumored to have told carriers to expect an eSIM-only iPhone this year with MacRumors getting its hands on a "seemingly legitimate document outlining the timeframe for this initiative." That timeframe was September 2022.

Whether your stance is that the best iPhone is one without any ports, slots, or holes at all, the idea of Apple nudging carriers towards a world where we don't have to put little pieces of plastic into devices is a promising one. If this latest report is accurate and Apple will offer nano SIM iPhone 14 handsets this year, expect that option to go away come iPhone 15 time.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.