The iPhone X compared with the new iPhone XS

Apple has teased a string of new iPhone devices that will be launched exclusively for the Chinese and Hong Kong consumer markets. For many iPhone iterations, tech experts have questioned Apple’s wisdom in not allowing dual SIM support. Finally, it appears that they have listened, with the upcoming release of the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus, which will not only support two SIM cards but also be able to hold and store them.

It means iPhone XS owners in China can freely interchange any two SIM cards into their devices. These genuine dual-SIM iPhones are ideal for those Chinese consumers who regularly visit the autonomous state of Macau on the country’s southern tip, which has become a hotbed for people from the mainland in recent years due to its world-class casino scene. It will also be a significant boon for those living in Hong Kong who have a propensity to purchase unlocked handsets and want to avoid paying costly roaming fees; this would make internet browsing on iPhones cheaper and more secure, even when crossing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Why is Apple opting for dual-SIM functionality rather than eSIM technology in the Chinese market?

While the Far East’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus will be able to run two SIM cards simultaneously, the iPhone devices released elsewhere around the world will support two SIMs but aren’t built to hold more than one SIM card. With these iPhones, the support for a second SIM derives from eSIM technology, with some mobile carriers offering virtual SIM services. Nevertheless, it’s the Far East’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus that will be the only devices to have two in-built SIM trays.

It’s been suggested that Apple opted to design separate iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus devices specifically for the Chinese market and the surrounding regions due to China’s vocal resistance to the use of eSIM technology. However, that would be a surprising stance, especially as China Telecom recently unveiled its own eSIM in the early part of this year. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: Apple’s decision to bend over backwards for China shows how important the consumer market is in Asia’s economic powerhouse.

Dual-SIM capabilities sure to be of interest in the West

Once the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus devices are launched for consumers in China and Hong Kong, they will be able to fit any two SIM cards into their handsets that they so wish. So, whether they are traveling small distances to places like Macau or much further afield to other countries, they will be able to fit SIM cards that meet their needs at any given time. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see some of these genuine dual-SIM iPhone versions weave their way over to the western world at marked-up prices.

There’s no doubt that those as far away as North America will be interested in getting their hands on one of these dual-SIM devices, too—particularly those who regularly travel to Macau to play in their big-money poker tournaments. It would give them the chance to put in a new local SIM card so that they could affordably keep in touch with friends and loved ones and even get the latest news and NFL results for their favorite teams in the AFC.

According to leaked presentation slides on Apple’s new devices for the Chinese and Hong Kong markets, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus will be available from just over US$1,000 and US$1,200, respectively. It has been confirmed that a budget variant of the iPhone XS will also be reaching the Chinese market in the coming weeks. The iPhone XC will only have single SIM capability, despite having a slightly larger screen than the XS by 0.3”.

The iPhone XC will be available for just over US$850. Many iPhone experts anticipate that the iPhone XC’s handset will be available in blue, gray, orange and red, while the iPhone XS will be available in Apple’s iconic silver, as well as in gold and “space gray”.