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Repair website iFixit today shared an in-depth teardown of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, providing a closer look at the device's internals. Notably, the teardown includes a photo of the plastic spacer that replaced the SIM card tray on the U.S. model.

iPhone-14-Pro-Max-SIM-Card-Plastic-Spacer.jpeg

All four iPhone 14 models sold in the U.S. no longer have a physical SIM card tray and rely entirely on digital eSIMs. The teardown confirms that Apple is not using the internal space freed up by the tray's removal for any other component or added functionality, and instead filled in the gap with a square piece of plastic. Outside of the U.S., all iPhone 14 models are still equipped with a SIM card tray in this space.

As seen in previous teardowns, iFixit provided close-up images of the iPhone 14 Pro Max's logic board, which is equipped with a faster A16 Bionic chip and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X65 modem that provides both 5G and satellite connectivity.


While the standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus can be opened from the back side, and feature a more repairable design with an easily removable display and back glass panel, these design changes do not extend to the Pro models. The teardown shows that the iPhone 14 Pro Max continues to open from the front and does not have removable back glass. The internal design of the device is largely unchanged from the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The lack of removable back glass on iPhone 14 Pro models makes repairs more expensive. Without AppleCare+, Apple Stores charge $499 to $549 to fix cracked rear glass on iPhone 14 Pro models, compared to $169 to $199 for standard iPhone 14 models.

iFixit shared a teardown of the iPhone 14 earlier this week.

Article Link: iPhone 14 Pro Max Teardown Provides Closer Look at Unused SIM Tray Area on U.S. Model and More
 

deathcab

macrumors regular
May 26, 2009
103
401
Odd decision to remove but not utilize the space, especially since it limits carrier choice in many instances - including in the US as many prepaid and MVNO carriers do not yet support eSim (and can’t until the Big 3 allow them to since most run on their networks). This move also disables hardware-based unlocks that worked with physical sims such as R-Sim, though those workarounds are admittedly sketchy in their own right.

I still wonder if the Big 3 carriers influenced this change to limit competition and create friction for switching to other carriers.

(post edited for clarity)
 
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antiprotest

macrumors 68030
Apr 19, 2010
2,646
5,988
I don't care if the spot is empty inside, but I would prefer they then have no opening at all on the side rather than seal up the hole like it is now. I guess it'd be too expensive for them to make a special version for esim only phones.
 
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JPack

macrumors G3
Mar 27, 2017
9,751
17,137
Kinda funny since that plastic spacer serves no meaningful purpose at all.

Apple preaches environmental benefits when they removed the power adapter and EarPods. With no SIM slot on the U.S. model, they decide to generate plastic waste by putting in a spacer. It serves no purpose except hope nobody remembers what's supposed to be underneath it.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
7,459
14,557
Florida, USA
Odd decision to remove but not utilize the space, especially since it limits carrier choice in many instances - including in the US as many prepaid and MVNO carriers do not yet support eSim (and can’t until the Big 3 allow them to since most run on their networks).

I still wonder if the Big 3 carriers influenced this change to limit competition and create friction for switching to other carriers (among other things, this disables hardware-based unlocks such as rSim, though those are admittedly sketchy in their own right).
I think Apple just wants to drag carriers kicking and screaming into the eSIM era, and this is a good way to do it.

The various carriers have had issues with activating eSIM; making them mandatory for the most popular phones and getting rid of their "Oh well, this doesn't work, here's a physical SIM" path will force them to smooth the process and make eSIMs work well for everyone.
 

OmahaGTP

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2008
84
73
I imagine if they’d actually gone eSim-only worldwide there would be a functional replacement. If pushback in other regions is minimal, and iPhone 15 goes eSim worldwide, I expect the 15 to have a pretty hefty battery size increase (or whatever else).
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G5
Oct 1, 2007
14,742
14,701
If the concession was no SIM card slot to keep the same pricing in US, its ok by me and probably most others.

Still would prefer to have a SIM card slot in there, can't imagine that really cost them an arm and a leg, but I digress.

I'd rather that than like a $300 price hike for one. Something I may never use (but I dont conceptually like that my GSM carrier is now in practice just like CDMA)

Not worth the headache to get one from Canada or elsewhere too, in case of warranty issues or whatever or in case mmWave really takes off and is ubiquitous (which I doubt will be any time soon)
 

neuropsychguy

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2008
1,790
3,735
So is there any real benefit for the U.S. models? Better water resistance? (Speaking of, where will they put the ingress indicator?) Or, is it just cost cutting?
Slightly better water resistance. This is mostly just moving things forward towards eSIMs. It forces mobile providers to make support for eSIMs better. It also likely has some financial benefits, but Apple is more likely to lose sales because of it than gain sales.
 

PinkyMacGodess

macrumors G3
Mar 7, 2007
9,449
5,364
Midwest America.
And so many people have been saying they used the space for another mmwave antenna. YOU'RE WRONG! I don't see the need to dump physical SIM chips. The 13PM has both so why not just continue that? So if people travel and want to use their phone with a local provider, is that even possible? I heard they support 2 eSIMs. Is that true?

Does the plastic 'bite block' add to structural stability?
 
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