Hong Kong’s late Apple Watch Series 3 debut signals eSIM’s key role in 5G devices

“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.]


  1. I’m looking at an Apple Watch soon because of the Stanford Heart Study. If I take a trip with my better half to Europe and change out the SIM in the iPhone is the watch going to be able to “adjust” or will it only work with internet service at hand?

  2. So I drop and break my phone. Now with a real sim I go to my drawer of toys, grab old backup phone and plop my sim in. Done.

    With esim I have to go to drawer, get old backup phone, call carrier on what phone? Mines broken? So borrow a phone, call carrier and get backup phone esim activated on account.

    Just to save. 2mm?

  3. “5G” doesn’t exist yet as a finished standard. Currently, it is undergoing testing through 2018. We’ll be lucky in the USA to see it available through our shite mobile providers by 2021. <-Not kidding.

    If Apple can integrate 5G, when it's finished, in 2019, that will be excellent! Except there won't be any available in the USA. This is a reflection of the fact that there is NO REAL 4G in the USA outside of a test area of Chicago run by Verizon.

    Yes, this is a stupid situation. Blame the lazy, parasite mobile providers.

      1. My term for the ideal is: Responsible Capitalism.

        Meanwhile, we’re stuck amidst a species with a spectrum of psychopathology problems, determined to be irresponsible. So how do we rig evolution to kill off the genetic component of psychopathy? *pondering* 😉

        1. and naively sophisticated, but it would appear it’s determined by something other, or more than the law? If that’s the case and, I’ll be it is, it’s like defining “good.” Your good is not my good and your trash may be my treasure. If I’m following the law, but capitalistically acting “irresponsibly” by some amorphous “responsibility” credo, what’s going to happen to me? Leftie shaming?

          1. Seeing as I am not a one dimensional thinker, “Leftie” on what scale?

            Yes, mankind constantly wrestles with what is ethical. I don’t see that ending. But there are blatant extremes of deliberate irresponsibility that ruin other people en masse. I’ll skip this history of what caused ‘The Great Recession’ in 2007. But it’s an excellent example of blatant irresponsibility that affected essentially the entire world of humans. Bailing out any company that engaged in that selfish destruction of our economy does not warrant a ‘bailout’. It warrants a controlled, responsible dissolution of the perpetrator’s biznizziz. Equally, undoing the legal attempts to stop the same irresponsible behavior in the future is insane and is itself irresponsible.

            Seeing as ‘Leftie’ is of concern to you, I can point out the irresponsible method used to perpetrate Affordable Care Act.

            Limiting my thinking to the usual one dimensional scale, I tend to think of both the drastic ‘Left’ and drastic ‘Right’ as deliberately irresponsible in their endeavors. I respect neither. Sane alternatives that actually benefit We The People are more likely to gain my respect.

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