eSIM smartphone shipments

History is a testament to the fact that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has often been credited with bringing game-changers into the fray. Revolutionary products which alter the market for all time to come. The iPhone is an extremely prevalent example of the same. Apple’s most recent announcement is expected to spark another revolution with its usage of eSIM in the newly announced iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. It is estimated that demand for eSIMs will increase exponentially from now. eSIM smartphone shipments are expected to cross the 400 million mark by the year of 2022, according to ABI Research. And we know exactly whom to thank for it.

What Is An eSIM?

An eSIM is the future of SIM technology. eSIM stands for embedded Subscriber Identity Module. It does away with the traditional SIM cards and their SIM card slots, allowing devices to consume much less space. As the first letter in the acronym suggests, it is embedded in the device, with its size being a fraction of that of a nano SIM. As it is inbuilt in the device, it is irreplaceable. But there is still provision to change the network provider offered by the eSIM. It is extremely convenient to use in small devices like wearables. Its small size also allows for space and volume consumption cutting in case of a smartphone.

The first time we saw the use of this revolutionary technology was in the Samsung Gear S2 3G released in October 2015. But it was indeed Apple who gave the revolutionary technology its initial exposure to the limelight. Apple integrated the technology in their Apple Watch 3, which brought it to public attention during its release in the September of last year. The first smartphone to integrate this technology within itself was that of Google’s flagship, Pixel 2.

How Apple Has Created A Market for eSIM

The discontinuation of Apple’s iPhone X and its announcement of three new variants have brought about much speculation. But, as is the craze around Apple’s iPhones, these are predicted to do pretty well in the smartphone markets. The Apple iPhone XR, in particular, is expected to make a killing in the sales. All this has created a huge market for eSIM manufacturers. Before the release of the new iPhones, the only smartphone users they were catering to were the Pixel 2 users. Now, their shipment numbers are expected to change from a few million each year to hundreds of millions through the new iPhones.

Another clever feature thrown into the mix by Apple is that of the dual-SIM feature in iPhones. Apple has managed to keep a mix of both the old and the new SIM technologies. They provide the users with a traditional SIM card slot, along with the eSIM. This allows the users to stick to their original smartphone experiences, as well as experiencing the new technology firsthand. However, the China market will not be provided with the eSIM. There, the smartphones are gonna be provided with two traditional SIM card slots.

SIM Card Technologies: Then and Now

When the SIM cards were originally introduced into the markets, they were the size of our present day credit cards. Then, gradually, the devices started to shrink, and the SIM cards along with them. The large-scale usage of the eSIM was always on the agenda, mostly because it was the next natural step in SIM card evolution. Rather than being a question of if, it was just that of when.

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