After more than three years, I am still happily using my iPhone 6, which has proven to be an excellent and reliable product. I don’t really care about having a better camera, more storage or a faster chip because my phone does everything I need it to – almost.
These days, I am spending a lot of time overseas and this has been somewhat of an irritant when it comes to using my phone. My provider, Vodafone, does offer a very reasonable $5 a day international roaming plan, but this becomes prohibitively expensive for those of us who spend a good part of the year abroad.
My solution until now has been to swap SIMs when I’m abroad. Where I am currently, I use a very good pre-paid unlimited data plan for about $20 a month. This, however, has the disadvantage of cutting off access to my Australian phone calls and SMS messages.
And this is exactly why the new IPhone XS and XR models have made me sit up and take notice.
Buried in among all the guff about the new chip, better camera, improved screen, increased storage and fabulously stylish design in today’s announcement was the fact that, for the first time, Apple has introduced dual SIM to its phones through the use of the usual nano-SIM slot and an embedded digital eSIM chip.
An eSIM is an embedded chip in the phone that is software writable, so in future users could switch mobile operators without changing a physical SIM.
For us overseas travellers, we could retain our Vodafone, Telstra or Optus nano-SIM and activate our eSIM with whatever mobile operator we choose to use abroad. Or conceivably, our Australian operator might be housed on the eSIM and we could simply insert a cheap local physical SIM while overseas.
eSIM is new and requires mobile carrier co-operation, but the good news for me is that my provider Vodafone is a strong supporter of this technology. For those of you with Telstra and Optus, don’t worry because there is no way they will risk losing iPhone customers by not jumping aboard. Although one wonders why they have still not implemented visual voicemail.
As far as my choice of new phone is concerned, it will almost certainly be the iPhone XR 128GB model for $1299, which is just about at the limit I’m prepared to spend for any type of mobile handheld device. Yes, it’s still pricey, but I know it will last me at least three years – and who knows, I’m might even be able to trade-in (or sell) my iPhone 6.
So will I be lining up for the new iPhone XR when the Apple Store throws open its doors on 26 October? No, but I will certainly go down to a store after the din has died down and take a look at one. If I like what I see, then I will seriously consider ugrading.