The iPhone Killer

Since the iPhone was launched in 2007, competitors have been launching phones dubbed as “The iPhone Killer”, but nobody has been able to achieve that till now. Many of those companies have left the phone industry altogether. HTC doesn’t make phones anymore. Lenovo now owns Motorola and is not a big mobile phone maker anymore. Nokia is slowly trying to make a comeback, but it’s nowhere near its past glory.

So, why, in 2023, am I writing this post? Well, that’s because someone made an iPhone killer, and it’s none other than Apple themselves. And the new iPhone 14 line is the iPhone killer. Nobody wants to buy it. At least, I don’t! And I have been an avid iPhone user since iPhone 4S days.

So, why do I not want to buy any of the new iPhone 14 phones?

Apple made some bold moves in the past, like removing the audio jack or replacing Touch ID with Face ID. But they were not a problem. Consumers can adapt, and adapt we did.

But the move to eSIM-only devices is not something I can adapt to. That is because even though Apple has some influence over the network providers, Apple can’t control how network providers issue eSIMs.

For Instance, I maintain two phone numbers. One with a US network provider and another with an Indian network provider. Both numbers are important to me for various essential reasons. Right now, when I want to upgrade my phone, I can just swap the SIM card, and I am good to go! I don’t have to ask the network provider for a new SIM card.

However, with eSIM, it’s a lot more complicated! Your phone is your SIM card now. Of course, you can store multiple eSIMs. But that doesn’t help. When you want to upgrade your phone, your network provider has to issue a new eSIM for the new phone. And when you are traveling internationally, will your network provider issue a new sim? It’s up to them, and most likely, the answer is no, and the best-case scenario would be a maybe. And that’s a huge risk I am unwilling to take. Because if something goes wrong with the migration, your old eSIM may stop working, and the new eSIM may not activate. And if you lose your phone number, you lose your capability to verify your identity.

Moreover, if you are trying to migrate multiple eSIMs and if one or more of them doesn’t migrate, you are stuck with your old phone. You cannot trade it in because you don’t want to lose the number.

So, what options do I have?

  1. Not upgrade to iPhone 14 and stay with my iPhone 13 with a physical sim slot.
  2. Upgrade to iPhone 14 or later, convert the US number to eSIM (that will limit me to future iPhone upgrades in the US), and carry an iPhone SE (or any phone with a physical SIM card slot) when I travel to India.
  3. Move to Android, and find a phone with a physical sim card slot.

Option 1 is what I am doing right now. But when it comes time to upgrade, I don’t want to go with option 2. Honestly, it feels like moving backward in technology. But It may be my only option.

Android migration will not work for me because I am tied to Apple’s software and cloud ecosystem.

Well played, Apple!

PS: You can still buy an iPhone 14 with a physical SIM card slot in some countries, but not the US. So, that’s something!

Update, Feb 27, 2023: Android launched eSIM transfer functionality. This seems to be the right solution to the problem. No announcement from Apple so far.

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