Steve Jobs Wanted Original iPhone to Have No SIM Card Slot, Says Former iPod VP

Rumors have suggested Apple could soon release an iPhone without a physical SIM card slot, and it turns out that if that's accurate, Apple would be realizing Steve Jobs' vision for the original ‌iPhone‌, according to former iPod VP Tony Fadell.

iphone 12 sim card slot blue
Fadell was recently interviewed by journalist Joanna Stern for a special event at the Computer History Museum to promote his new book Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making, and during the conversation Fadell revealed that Steve Jobs wanted the ‌iPhone‌ to be a seamless device that didn't include a SIM card slot.

Instead of relying on GSM cellular technology, Jobs was apparently more interested in using CDMA to connect iPhones to cell towers and cited Verizon's nascent use of the technology, which allows supporting phones to link directly to the carrier's network.

Fadell said he had to show Jobs market data to convince the former Apple CEO that CDMA adoption was too low for it to be a feasible option for the ‌iPhone‌.

In fact, Apple did eventually release a SIM-less ‌iPhone‌, but not until midway through the normal ‌iPhone‌ release cycle in January 2011, when it launched a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 for the Verizon network. The SIM card slot returned on the CDMA-equipped ‌iPhone‌ 4S, but the slot wasn't supported by Verizon.

Late last year, Brazilian website Blog do ‌iPhone‌ claimed that iPhone 15 Pro models might not have a physical SIM card slot in at least some countries and regions.

Soon after the story broke, MacRumors received a seemingly legitimate document from an anonymous tipster indicating that Apple had advised major U.S. carriers to prepare for the launch of eSIM-only smartphones as soon as September 2022.

Given the alleged September 2022 deadline, it is possible that Apple might remove the physical SIM card slot on some iPhone 14 models, rather than some ‌iPhone 15‌ models as originally rumored, but nothing is definitive at this point.

One obstacle is that eSIM functionality is not available in all countries, so iPhones sold in some areas will need to continue to offer a nano-SIM slot. In countries where a SIM-free ‌iPhone‌ is available, it may be optional, with consumers still able to choose a version with a SIM. There are more than 60 countries that support eSIM, with a list available on Apple's website.

Apple is expected to introduce the ‌iPhone 14‌ models at an event that's likely to be held in September 2022, if Apple follows previous launch timelines.

(Via 9to5Mac.)

Tag: eSIM

Top Rated Comments

Wokis Avatar
2 weeks ago
I like physical SIM as I can switch my service from one phone to another without having to deal with the carrier in any way/form/capacity. Any day where I don't have to think about them is a good day.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
2 weeks ago
Why remove functionality. Granted it would be more watertight but an eSIM and slot allows for two numbers to be used easily as well and swap out for a local SIM when traveling.

An eSIM might involve needing to go to a carrier to activate which is one more hassle that can be avoided.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djdj Avatar
2 weeks ago

Wait, why do we even still use sim cards?
All other services have normal accounts, why the >30 years old tech to handle the basic functionality of our futuristic devices?
Have you ever damaged or replaced your phone? Or dropped it off for service? Using a SIM lets you move your number to a different device instantly without having to call the carrier (from another phone) and have them move it for you, with the delays and possible fees. Getting rid of SIMs would be a huge mistake and extremely inconvenient.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ilikewhey Avatar
2 weeks ago

Out of curiosity, how did the iPhone 4 CDMA version work if there was no sim tray but also that eSims weren’t a thing yet?
i had that iphone in college, took it to europe for study abroad and it was basically a glorified GPS tracker with a camera.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ilikewhey Avatar
2 weeks ago
while traveling i noticed eSim is not a thing in alot of countries, this is gonna be fun for folks who does alot of internationals.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
2 weeks ago

Out of curiosity, how did the iPhone 4 CDMA version work if there was no sim tray but also that eSims weren’t a thing yet?
CDMA did not use a SIM for the account. It used a different protocol to verify a valid account.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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