“When Apple released the cellular-capable Apple Watch Series 3 in September, it didn’t realize that a tiny component — its next-generation embedded SIM card (eSIM) — would lead China to quickly and abruptly cut off Apple Watch phone service within its borders,” Jeremy Horwitz writes for VentureBeat. “This morning, the cellular Apple Watch belatedly became available to order in China’s Hong Kong territory… spotlighting the surprising challenges eSIM faces as it becomes critical to next-generation wearables and 5G devices, replacing the 25-year-old traditional SIM card.”

“Nothing about eSIMs would appear to justify governmental panic. Physical SIM cards spent decades shrinking from full-sized to mini, micro, and nano cards before the GSM Association approved eSIM, an even smaller, trayless, permanently installed successor,” Horwitz writes. “The innovation enabled Apple Watch Series 3 to gain only 0.25mm of thickness despite integrating a complete cellular communications system.”

“eSIMs also enable seamless network switching: You can change carriers as needed, including during international travel. Indeed, eSIMs are eventually expected to end international roaming charges,” Horwitz writes. “Since cellular Apple Watches and iPads have set the stage for eSIMs, it’s highly likely that 2019 iPhones and 5G smartphones from other manufacturers will be eSIM-only. So get ready — pretty soon, you’ll be able to kiss carrier lock-ins and international roaming fees goodbye.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yet another game-changing technology delivered to the world by Apple.

Apple Watch hits cellular snag in China; users are no longer able to sign up for a cell service – October 19, 2017
Morgan Stanley: iPhone supercyle is for real, Apple Watch demand second to none – October 13, 2017
First week with Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular): Connectivity makes for a truly smart watch – October 9, 2017
Macworld reviews Apple Watch Series 3: The wearable leader runs out to an insurmountable lead – October 6, 2017
Ars Technica reviews Apple Watch Series 3: Despite some teething pains, it’s great to use – September 27, 2017
Some reviewers’ Apple Watch Series 3 ‘LTE issues’ due to easily-fixable Wi-Fi bug – September 20, 2017
Jim Dalrymple reviews Apple Watch Series 3: ‘Do yourself a favor and get one’ – September 20, 2017
Some reviewers’ Apple Watch Series 3 ‘LTE issues’ due to easily-fixable Wi-Fi bug – September 20, 2017
Wired reviews Apple Watch Series 3: ‘For the first time ever, I love the Apple Watch’ – September 20, 2017
9to5Mac reviews Apple Watch Series 3: Unlocks new potential with LTE, dramatically improved Siri – September 20, 2017
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE models selling much faster than expected – September 18, 2017
Why the carriers must drop the Apple Watch LTE connectivity tax – September 15, 2017
How much Apple Watch Series 3 data plans will cost on Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint – September 14, 2017
Apple Watch, the world’s best-selling watch, can now work without an iPhone – September 12, 2017
New Apple Watch Series 3 delivers built-in cellular with powerful new health and fitness enhancements – September 12, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]