Apple Adds Plastic Block to eSIM iPhone 14 Models: Not a Stupid Idea

Apple Adds Plastic Block to eSIM iPhone 14 Models: Not a Stupid Idea

One of the biggest news on the iPhone 14 models is that Apple is removing the SIM tray and is going completely eSIM for the US-bound models. While the move is controversial, it is not as widespread as with the iPhone 7 before that all models, regardless of region, do not have a headphone jack.

Having said that, one of the bigger questions about the SIM tray-less US iPhone 14 models is on what would Apple do with the space where the SIM should be? iFixIt got their hands on a US iPhone 14 Pro Max 14, and to their surprise: Apple actually just placed a plastic block on where the SIM tray is supposed to be.

We’re not kidding: it’s as if Apple added a lego block to the now-empty space.


With this revelation from iFixIt, people will surely have a lot of questions: why not maximize the now-empty space for something like, say, a bigger battery? Why not bring back the headphone jack to make up for the empty space where the SIM tray used to be?

The short story of it is that Apple is basically because of eSIM adaptation and overall cost. Unlike the removal of the headphone jack, where Apple had a solution already in the form of the AirPods, they don’t have the power to persuade everyone to use eSIMs. In the Philippines alone, eSIM adoption is very slow, and even if Globe and Smart are offering it to their postpaid subscribers, not everyone is availing it. This is because the majority of phones in the Philippines depend on physical SIM cards. This is the very reason why only the US iPhone models get an eSIM-only variant–and the rest of the world gets the regular variety that keeps the physical SIM slot

Is it possible to add a SIM card slot on a US iPhone 14? Not really, knowing Apple.


The other reason for such a peculiar move has to do with the scale of economics. Since Apple is only offering an eSIM-only iPhone to the US market, it does not make sense for them to manufacture four different sets of logic boards (to cover all 4 iPhone 14 models) just only for the US market. Add to the fact that even Apple is also affected by manufacturing and supply issues, which is partly a reason why there’s a delay with some iPhone 14 models–specifically the Plus variant.

In order to be cost-effective, Apple used the same set of logic boards for the US-bound iPhone 14 models, remove the SIM card module, and fill up the empty space with that black plastic block. Because of this approach, Apple managed to keep the pricing of the iPhone 14 roughly the same as its predecessor (at least in the US) despite all the hurdles in producing them.

Overall, Apple’s idea of eSIM-only iPhone 14 models that are exclusive to the US is more of a litmus test to see how the world will react to it. We don’t know if Apple will return the SIM card module for all regions come the iPhone 15 series next year, but there’s a possibility that the world might have wider eSIM adaptation by then.

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