Carrier eSIM tardiness means iPhone 15 still has a SIM tray for most

The eSIM might be the order of the day in the United States, but physical SIMs are still needed internationally and the iPhone 15 is ready to go.

1 minute & 39 seconds read time

When Apple announced the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices last year they became the first iPhones to ditch the familiar SIM card tray, although only in the United States. Those buying the newest iPhones internationally still have a physical SIM tray because carriers weren't ready to offer eSIMs to all who wanted them. We thought that might change by the time the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro rolled around a year later.

It did not change, dear reader. And the international iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max continue to have a physical SIM card whether you want one, or not. And it seems that we can thank international carriers for that.

Carrier eSIM tardiness means iPhone 15 still has a SIM tray for most 02

Physical SIM card trays have been around for years of course, getting smaller every so often. The nano-SIM is all well and good but eSIMs are so handy it's hard to argue that they aren't the better option. All iPhones do support eSIMs thankfully, and they can be used to add second lines where required. But with some carriers refusing to support eSIM entirely, some people are still left with that little piece of plastic.

It was assumed that Apple would put pressure on international carriers to ensure that eSIM adoption increased, and maybe they did try. But a year later, eSIM support is still a novelty. In fact, the lack of eSIM support also means that some carriers can't offer Apple Watches which is a strange position to be in as we edge closer to 2024.

Who knows, maybe things will change in with the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro this time next year.

As for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineups, they'll both go up for preorder this Friday, September 15 as was expected before they were announced. That also means that the new iPhones will become available to buy next Friday, September 22. That's also when the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch Series 9 will go on sale. As if Apple Stores weren't already busy enough, the USB-C AirPods Pro also arrive on the same day, although it's unlikely that they will drive too many sales on the new iPhone and Apple Watch day.

Apple seems to be keen to push people to upgrade this year with big trade-in offers available with carrier partners, while the Apple Store also continues to be a solid option for those looking to trade in their old model for a discount on a new one.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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