Is Apple Finally Decided Building A Dual-SIM iPhone? Patent Filings Suggest Its Grant

Apple has started filing patent in China and he US for a dual SIM phone and to bring the ability to have two phone numbers associated with one handset, which is of course, truly popular in India and China. Apple however, doesn’t offer this type of capability, which was all the way rumored with the newly launched iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus hardware. But it looks like Apple going the dual way, considering making a special version of the next iPhone with a dual SIM card option. Really? According to recent patents filed in different countries making Apple granted it by means.

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If these reports as per Forbes comes true, Apple might soon be adding dual-SIM functionality to the iPhone. While the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reveals the granted Apple patent of dual SIM tech after all. Documents filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office describe a dual SIM card feature that would eventually allow the iPhone to store two phone numbers (screenshot in Chinese below).

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Nevertheless, the application was submitted in March 2016 and published in September this year, as per the filing details. The inventor listed on the filing is Li Su, whose LinkedIn profile shows she is a principal architect for cellular software at Apple.

The patent filing also shows up System, apparatus, and the method of controlling access to multiple antenna bands in mobile devices which having multiple SIMs. It relatively shows up how the technology enables the use of two SIM cards in a mobile phone and how the device technology determines SIM priority. If a SIM card is being actively used on a phone call is any given situation, that card is given priority over the second SIM which also actively uses data.

Additionally, Apple was also been awarded a patent for dual SIM card technology in the US earlier this week. Li Su is listed on the patent along with two other Apple wireless cellular engineers, Ming Hu and Guojie Dong.

Some mobile devices have the capability of using multiple SIMs,” reads the US patent, “allowing users to maintain different wireless services, such as for business and personal use.”

About a Dual SIM card option, it would add some bulk to the hardware, but there has been growing interest lately around the technology for embedded SIM (or eSIM), which can thereafter be reprogrammed through software updates. Instead of a carrier providing the physical SIM card to get their own networks, the card can simplify it to get on different networks reprogrammed through a software update. Apple began shipping an eSIM in its 9.7-inch iPad Pro this year.

Outside China or India, having a dual SIM might definitely not going to make a lot of sense, though. In the US, Western Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia, Apple ties up closely with carriers to sell phones, said Canalys analyst Jessies Ding. “Dual-SIM card will jeopardize the mechanism that operators sell the locked iPhone with contract,” he said.

The dual SIM technology on Android powered smartphones are in maximum use either in China or India, and today given the option of a Hybrid Dual SIM that manages to occupy one of the SIM slot with a microSD card.  Coming to Apple rumors regarding a dual-SIM card option, this isn’t the first time to come underway. There was a doubt before Apple’s iPhone 7 launch, leaked pictures also pointed that the upcoming phone showed support for two SIM cards, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it never appeared, rather discontinued the 3.5mm audio cutout.

In my thoughts, if Apple want to compete with other dual SM smartphone manufacturers all over the globe, and to rival some of the best Android smartphone rivals such as Vivo, Huawei, ASUS, LG, Samsung, OPPO among others, the Cupertino-based firm should consider adding a dual-SIM option on its 10th anniversary iPhone device in 2017.