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Apple Explores Dual-SIM Capability in iPhones, Patent Filing Reveals (ibtimes.com.au) 127

Apple is exploring the idea of having two SIM card slots in its iPhones. The Cupertino-based company has registered a patent for a dual-SIM card technology that involves two separate antennas. Though not as popular in the US, and UK markets, smartphones with dual-SIM card capability are extremely popular in developing regions such as China and India. For instance, according to Counterpoint Research marketing firm, more than 90 percent smartphones sold in India, world's fastest growing smartphone market had dual-SIM card slot in them. But why does Apple care about India and China, you ask. The iPhones sales growth has dropped everywhere in the world, except India, which is also the world's second most populous nation, and world's second largest smartphone market. As per Apple's previous earnings call, sales of iPhones grew by 50 percent in India, and Tim Cook has said that he sees a huge potential in the country.
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Apple Explores Dual-SIM Capability in iPhones, Patent Filing Reveals

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  • Wow how original (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by NotInHere ( 3654617 )

    two antennas! Nobody could have figured that out other than the geniuses at apple.

    • Speaking of dumb ideas, the SIM card is dumb. Why have a physical thing separate from the phone? Just punch in a number or numbers that can be saved in the phone itself.
      • Duh! The SIM-card isn't just used for storing numbers. It's a physical token representing your number and what operator you are using.

        Image the hassle when you get a new phone and have to call customer support to validate it and get your number ported to it from the old one. Or moving to a new operator (if it's allowed).. Brrr...

        • I don't get what you are trying to convey.
  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:04PM (#53498423)
    What is there to patent? I am using prior art right now and it is at least 2 years old.
    • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:09PM (#53498475) Journal

      its the dual radio antennas that are being patented. Because adding more than one Antenna is considered "innovation" these days.

      • Most phones already have two or more radio antennas. GSM uses a TDMA radio with its own antenna for voice, a CDMA radio with its own antenna for 3G data, and a OFDMA radio with its own antenna for LTE. (CDMA phones use the same CDMA radio for voice and 3G data, which is why you couldn't talk and browse the web at the same time on older CDMA handsets.)

        I suppose you could say the patent is for two profiles (phone numbers) on a single phone. Except Samsung already has had that capability in production ph [wikipedia.org]
        • Well you have the antenna, the radio and the profile. Three separate things. ?As I understand it, whenever you have a spread of frequencies it is still currently easier to have separate antennas for each "group". Don't know what two antennas at the same frequency would get you. Then you have radio chips. May need separate ones for different frequencies. There's that whole software-defined radio thing. Then there's records as to who the user is to what cell company.
      • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @02:16PM (#53498975)

        So basically you will have twice as much opportunity to hold it wrong?

      • its the dual radio antennas that are being patented. Because adding more than one Antenna is considered "innovation" these days.

        The patent [uspto.gov] they are referring to simply combines multiple antennas (2 or more) with multiple SIMs (2 or more). That's what Apple claimed as 'innovation'. It could be a new idea because it is not exactly dual antennas or dual SIMs. The innovation should be able to scale more than just 2 antennas and 2 SIMs at the same time. Thus, it is possible that the way to deal with these multiple antennas and SIMs could be different from dealing with dual.

        Anyway, I still think that the patent technology is a bit too vag

      • Every phone I've looked at that has dual-sims, allows for one slot to be a micro-sd. Apple IS innovating - as they sure as hell aren't gonna let the peons buy a cheap 256GB microSD... you can't even buy an iPhone with more than 128GB of storage. So they'll tie a radio to each slot and cripple it as a storage option... awesome.
      • Lots of telecommunication devices with two antennas already. Maybe not phones, but that shouldn't matter. Except that to the US patent ofice it does seem to matter, or at least they're too stupid to deny these patents.

    • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:10PM (#53498491) Journal

      SIMs with rounded corners, duh. Or maybe the patent is on a method of inserting SIMs into a phone with no slots for a SIM tray via quantum tunneling.

      My boss has Apple everything and has been wanting a phone with dual SIMs so he can have one company line and a personal line on the same phone. My oneplus 3 already has this.

      • Coming soon... patent on dual sd card slots
      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        The one feature I *want* is to be able to define the outbound caller id, so I can make work related calls from the phone, and have my office number show. I can fire up the voip app and make the call through that, but its clutzy. There should be a simple way, *without* having 2 separate cell phone plans, to let you register legit alias numbers* and select them on outgoing calls.

        * verfied by the phone company as 'belonging' to you/your organization. ('spoofing with bullshit go-nowhere numbers must die'.)

        Dual

        • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @02:20PM (#53499003)

          I don't know *any* cell phone that does that natively, nor do I think that that would be a good idea. That just screams abuse potential to me.

          A separate VOIP client, or a work-provided DISA service, are much safer options, at least from an admin standpoint.

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            "I don't know *any* cell phone that does that natively,"

            None do.

            "That just screams abuse potential to me."

            What exactly is the potential for abuse? You can already TRIVIALLY have a 2nd (voip) number call forwarded to your primary, so in bound aliasing is already 'solved'.

            The only bit is missing is that you can't place an outbound call using that 2nd number from the phone. Except... well you can can trivially use an app to make calls from your phone via the 2nd number... its just really clunky to have to use

            • Wait what? If you have a dual-sim phone you can't readily call from either number? No wonder you're annoyed... Yeah, that would be a minimum I would expect from a dual-sim device too.

              I thought you were talking about arbitrarily spoofing phone numbers.

              • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                No, I can't do that with a single sim phone. That's the only feature single sim phones are missing. And dual sim is overkill to solve that. I should just be able to get two numbers assigned by my carrier on one rate plan -- and then make or receive calls from either.

                Don't need 2 sims, 2 rate plans... that's overkill for me.

                • Ah ok, now I see. Yeah, I dunno if that is even possible. That would require a whole new level of coordination between regulations, carriers, and handset software, and I don't know if any of that actually exists, and if it doesn't, I don't think it would be worth the headaches involved to implement.

        • You have now invented Google Voice.

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            Except I still need a plan with my carrier of choice. I can't get local numbers from GV in Canada... etc, etc, etc... so sure... I've invented google voice... but made I've made it a non-voip service from actual carriers.

        • I just want one access profile for all my devices. Companies have too much control over the information to get ahold of you.
      • I'm looking for a decent smartphone with dual SIMs for exactly that reason right now. For a long time, I've had two little feature phones (one work, one personal) partly because they're small enough to carry around at the same time, but they're well past their best by now and it's not exactly convenient taking two devices everywhere. I'm not that bothered about apps, but an iPhone that could replace both existing devices would be an option worth considering.

        At the risk of going slightly off-topic for a minu

        • I can definitely second the OP3 route. I don't have a 3T, I bought my 3 right before the 3T came out. However, it is a fantastic phone. It is very fast and, so far, it has been rock solid stable as well as having impressive battery life.

          Also, while the Dash charging is proprietary... which does kind of suck, it *does* indeed charge very fast. My experience is that 10 minutes of charging will give you 2 hours or more battery life. 30 minutes charging will get you back to 100% from any charge level.

        • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

          It's been good to me so far (about 3 months). I haven't had any serious issues, though once I attempted to make a note for myself by sending myself an SMS like I used to do on my previous phone, and that seemed to have completely confused Messenger into not sending anything at all to anyone until I deleted that outgoing text. I bought a $10 case for it off of Amazon, which it really needed because the camera lens sticks out the back, making me worry about scratching the screen if I set it face down, or sc

      • My oneplus 3 already has this.

        "Already." My first Android phone, a Chinese 5" phablet I bought 5 years ago, was dual SIM. I paid less than 140 EUR for the phone, shipped.
        (BTW, It still works, but I wanted a better GPS receiver so I am now using a Galaxy S3.)

    • by NoSalt ( 801989 )
      Agreed ... I have a dual SIM in my $200.00 Huawei Honor 5X. This is NOT a new thing.
    • If you carefully read what's written on the back cover of your phone,
      there's probably "Made in China" written there.
      And your brand is probably some random unknown no-name asian brand (that has been already successfully flooding the Indian market for the part decade).

      Whereas that one is going to have "Designed in California" written in it (or maybe even "Assembled in the USA" because that's where they do the finally "assembly step". Like slaping the logo on the back).
      And it's brand that has successfully brai

  • You ask (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Verdatum ( 1257828 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:07PM (#53498445)
    "But why does Apple care about India and China, you ask."

    No, no I'd never ask that. That's just about the stupidest question I've ever heard.

  • by berchca ( 414155 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:08PM (#53498459) Homepage

    ...and in the Americas and Europe, they can use that space to put in a headphone jack! I hear they are extremely popular in those regions.

    • Why? Just attack the 1 inch headphone to lightning adapter on the end of your headphone cable and you won't have to worry about it anymore.

      • by berchca ( 414155 )

        Just don't try to charge your phone while you're listening to music...

      • by dave562 ( 969951 )

        Because why keep a jack built into the phone, when you can remove it and charge extra for an adapter!

        See, this is what happens when there are too many MBAs in the world.

        For 2017, I predict that Apple is going to remove the dial pad screen and sell an external, lightning adapter compatible dial pad. It will be modern retro for all the hip technologists out there. Those who really want to stand out from their peers will have the rotary phone accessory.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Did you also complain when PCs stopped shipping with the giant keyboard plugs, then again with the PS2 purple and green keyboard and mouse plugs?
          • by dave562 ( 969951 )

            Your analogy does not work because the PCs still had a keyboard plug. PC makers did not decide that users no longer need to connect keyboards to their computers.

            Apple on the other hand decided that people with headphones do not need to connect them to their phones / music players. But, apparently enough people really do need to make the connection, so Apple went ahead and developed an adapter. But they are not providing the adapter for free. It is an added expense that was previously not there.

            Did Apple

            • Plus an adapter isn't really much of a pain in the arse for something that sits on your desk.

              For something you carry around, it is.

              • by Agripa ( 139780 )

                Plus an adapter isn't really much of a pain in the arse for something that sits on your desk.

                It sure is when it has the reliability of an Apple adapter or anything Apple makes with a cable.

  • And once again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And once again:

    1- Someone implements a device with feature A. It's not very popular.
    2- Years pass.
    3- Apple (or more likely, some Apple blog) announces their next device will have feature A.
    4- EVERYONE and their dog rushes to declare that this is the worst idea ever, it won't work, it was done before, Apple is in decline, blah, blah, blah.
    5- Apple FINALLY releases a device with feature A. It sells like hot cakes.
    6- EVERYONE (and their dog, see above) eats crow.

    Been happening continuously for the past 10 year

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      Shakespeare can only be truly appreciated in the original iShakespeare form.

  • US carriers often claim they have global coverage, which often turns out to be a Byzantine system of insane surcharges, marking up a foreign carrier's service by quite a bit. You REALLY don't want most US carriers for your cell service when traveling to other countries. A dual-SIM phone solves that problem, but only if you can positively disable the unwanted SIM card to avoid the unwanted surprise surcharges. Of course, you could just turn off your beloved iPhone and use a local cheapie phone for travel,

    • This is where my Lumia comes in. I use the iPhone here, and Lumia when I go abroad.
    • by bazorg ( 911295 )

      me too! :) This week I used the 2nd SIM slot on my Lenovo K5 for the first time. The usual phone number is still on for calls and SMS, and EUR10 bought me 10Gig to use for the week long trip. It might not be an actual saving, but it certainly gave me 100% certainty around the price for accessing the internets.

    • Half the US network's phones (Verizon, Sprint) won't work at all overseas as they are frequency locked. Most Verizon phones don't have SIMs anyhow.

      A world phone works in the US on T-mobile and AT&T. Single SIM works well enough, unless you are crossing constantly, then you will wear out the SIM card hardware. Bet it's rated for 10 (ballpark) insert/remove cycles.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They cant even make one antenna work.. what will it be with two..

  • Apple is exploring the idea of having two SIM card slots in its iPhones.

    One sim is for your cellular carrier and the other is a direct line to the surveillance agencies and AppleCare.

  • So basically Apple wants to chase after emerging markets rather than do something about their quickly deteriorating product lineup.

    I swear, you can practically watch in real time how the MBA is destroying an up till now highly successful company that prided itself on the quality of it's engineering.

  • They need to patent the way to hold their phone with two antennas - I bet it will be unique.
  • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @02:33PM (#53499103) Journal

    I'm filing the patent right now.

  • India - the worlds second largest market for more or less everything - is Android territory when it comes to mobile devices. Indians generally ask one question while purchasing a cell phone...does it run WhatsApp? Most will not use an email program in their lives, business is conducted on WhatsApp.

    So, Facebook (WhatsApp) and Google (Android) has the country divided equally among themselves.

    There is no Apple ecosystem in India. All the "iDevices" are niche products used by the minority upper class/uppe

C for yourself.

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