New iPads hint at eSIM-only iPhone expanding to more countries

Apple on Tuesday announced the new iPad Air and iPad Pro, and an interesting detail about both of them is that their respective Cellular versions are eSIM only, which means that they no longer have a SIM card tray. While eSIM-only iPhones are only available in the US, Apple is making eSIM-only iPads available worldwide – and this might be a hint of what will happen to the iPhone soon.

The rest of the world may soon get eSIM-only iPhones

As we reported yesterday, both the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro in their Cellular versions are no longer compatible with physical SIM cards. The information was confirmed by Apple itself on its website.

iPhone owners in the US may already be familiar with not having a physical SIM card, since Apple removed the SIM tray from all iPhone 14 models in 2022. However, if you buy an iPhone in any other country, it still comes with a SIM card tray – probably because eSIM is still not that popular in many countries.

But it’s a different story with the new iPads. The eSIM-only models are now global and not just limited to the US. Even China won’t get a special iPad with a SIM tray (most carriers don’t support eSIM there, that’s why Apple made a dual-SIM iPhone for China). Although the iPad is not as popular as the iPhone, selling eSIM-only models in the rest of the world is definitely a bold move.

Given that it’s been almost two years since Apple introduced the first eSIM-only iPhone, many carriers around the world have had time to implement eSIM support.

iPad Pro camera cellular eSIM

With all this in mind, it’s not hard to imagine that Apple may have plans to expand the eSIM-only iPhone to the rest of the world starting with the iPhone 16 later this year. Last year, rumors suggested that Apple would remove the SIM tray from the iPhone 15 models sold in Europe – but this never happened.

Do you think the world is ready for the end of the physical SIM card in the iPhone? Let us know in the comments section below.

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