Dual-SIM iPhone could be just for China

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The dual-SIM iPhone will offer twice as many SIM card slots as any previous iOS device.
The dual-SIM iPhone will offer twice as many SIM card slots as any previous iOS device.
Photo: IFIXIT

Buried in the latest iOS 12 beta is evidence that Apple is going to release the first iPhone that can have two SIM cards installed at once. But most people won’t have the option to buy this device.

The dual-SIM iPhone will reportedly be restricted to just China.

Every Apple phone so far has had just a single SIM card slot. That’s apparently going to change with the 2018 models. 

The 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD screen will be the only new model available with two slots. And it won’t be released in the U.S. or Europe, according to the Economic Daily News. Just the huge Chinese market.

Why a dual-SIM iPhone?

Phones with multiple SIM slots are popular in China and developing countries. Some wireless phone providers in those regions charge lower rates when making calls to other customers of the same carrier. A dual-SIM phone can take better advantage of these deals.

Or some people make phone calls with one provider but get internet access from another, cheaper company.

In Europe, they became popular by allowing someone to connect one device to both their work and personal phone number. But even that wasn’t enough for them to catch on in the U.S.

Just so there’s no confusion, both SIM cards can’t be active at once. The user switches back and forth, which usually requires restarting the phone.

More about the 6.1-inch iPhone

A dual-SIM version might be just one of the factors making the 6.1-inch iPhone the most popular of the 2018 devices.

It will have a larger display that any previous iOS handset, even beating the 5.8-inch iPhone X. And it might be cheaper than the other 2018 offerings. Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts it will cost somewhere between $600 and $700.