The iPhone 14 range will not use physical SIM cards in the United States. The change has some benefits but might not suit users who travel internationally.
The US models of the full iPhone 14 line-up will instead use an eSim. That involves software on a chip built into the phone itself, rather than a removable card.
Depending on the carrier, eSims may come preconfigured to a network, or users will need to activate it, for example through scanning a QR code. Switching networks would mean reconfiguring the eSIM rather than replacing the card.
The main benefit for Apple is that it removes an entry point for water and dust and allows a more efficient use of space inside the handset. One benefit for users is that it’s easier to have multiple eSIM profiles running at once, allowing two “phone lines” on one handset without the need for a dual SIM card. Another is that if carriers add new network features (such as upgrading to 5G), they can simply update the eSIM rather than require users to get a new SIM card.
The biggest drawback is users who travel abroad and want to use a local carrier’s services rather than pay their domestic carrier’s roaming fees for calls and data. Normally that’s a simple enough task of switching in a local SIM card but iPhone 14 users will now need to add eSIM profiles.
While that doesn’t involve any physical changes, it does involve some software settings and the available offerings aren’t always as cheap or widely available as getting a local SIM card.