Podcast #67: Interoperability and Testing Essential to eSIM Ecosystem’s Success

2022 was a landmark year for the eSIM ecosystem. eSIM adoption has accelerated around the world and is now rapidly moving towards becoming the preferred mode of connectivity. Consumer interest in eSIM is at an all-time high, profile downloads have increased exponentially and newer players are entering the market – all signs of an ecosystem on the rise.

Most premium smartphones now come with an embedded SIM (eSIM) as it is more advantageous than a physical SIM for OEMs, operators and consumers. We’ve already seen an eSIM-only iPhone 14 in September last year. It is possible that in the coming years, most premium smartphones may not have a physical SIM at all. But it is not just smartphones, even companion devices like tablets, smartwatches and other IoT devices are now adopting eSIM. However, because eSIMs are not removable like physical SIMs, testing for profile suitability and interoperability becomes extremely important.

But how does eSIM testing work? What is the process? Which companies help in such testing? We discuss all that and more in our podcast with Comprion, which is a German company that specializes in eSIM testing.

In the latest episode of “The Counterpoint Podcast,” host Ankit Malhotra is joined by Marcus Dormanns, Director of Product Management and Business Development at Comprion. The discussion touches on several topics including the technical process of testing an eSIM, interoperability with different network providers, the time taken for testing, and more.

Click to listen to the podcast

You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers:

0:52 – Marcus Dormanns introduces Comprion.

2:25 – Dormanns talks about Comprion’s history in eSIM testing.

3:18 – Dormanns explains the technical details of eSIM testing.

5:19 – We deep dive to understand how eSIM testing is different from testing a physical SIM.

6:29 – Dormanns explains why the process of eSIM testing is not talked about much in public.

7:54 – How interoperability of eSIM is tested with different carriers.

09:55 – How correct 4G and 5G profiles are loaded in eSIM?

11:36 – Dormanns sheds more light on Comprion’s partnership with TCA for interoperability service.

13:52 – How long does it take for an operator to complete the eSIM testing process?

15:29 – Dormanns talks about the big trends developing in the eSIM space.

17:51 – As networks are becoming more complex, does it impact eSIM profiles and testing?

18:38 – What is the role of regulatory bodies in eSIM testing?

Also available for listening/download on:


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White Paper: eSIM 2.0: Managing eSIM at Scale

eSIM: Managing eSIM at scale


PDF | 11 pages
Published date: June 7th 2023

Embedded SIMs (eSIMs) have been around for many years now, promising multiple benefits over physical SIMs (pSIMs), such as low cost, faster provisioning, flexible lifecycle management, enhanced security and next-level customer experience.

However, eSIM adoption has been slower than initially expected. The industry was stuck in a vicious cycle of fewer devices, low consumer interest and half-hearted interest from telcos. The industry was in dire need of a wake-up call or an inflection point, which was delivered with the launch of the eSIM-only iPhone 14 in the US in September 2022.

The eSIM-only iPhone 14 triggered not only the launch of more eSIM devices and increased consumer interest but also pushed telcos to prioritize, identify and deploy highly interoperable and scalable eSIM orchestration systems. With this inflection point, the mobile industry embarks into the eSIM 2.0 era.

However, telcos need these systems to maximize operational efficiencies and build seamless digital experiences for their customers. Workz, one of the world’s leading end-to-end eSIM technology companies, is well positioned to offer innovative solutions such as Workz’s Multi-tenant eSIM Hub (MeSH) which will accelerate telcos’ digitization journeys in the eSIM 2.0 era.

  • Executive Summary
  • eSIM 2.0: eSIM Growth and Opportunities
  • eSIM 2.0: Growing Telco Challenges
  • eSIM 2.0: Workz’s MeSH the Way Forward
  • eSIM 2.0: Key Takeaways



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Global Smartphone Market Declines 14% YoY in Q1 2023; Apple Records Highest-Ever Q1 Share

  • The global smartphone market declined by 14% YoY and 7% QoQ to record 280.2 million unit shipments in Q1 2023.
  • Samsung replaced Apple as the top smartphone player in Q1 2023, driven by its mid-tier A Series and the recently launched S23 series.
  • Apple’s YoY shipment decline was the least among the top five brands. Consequently, it recorded its highest-ever Q1 share of 21%.
  • Global smartphone revenues declined by 7% YoY to around $104 billion. Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi increased their Average Selling Prices YoY.

London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Denver, Buenos Aires – May 5, 2023

The global smartphone market faced further contraction in the post-holiday-season quarter with shipments declining by 14% YoY and 7% QoQ to 280.2 million units in Q1 2023, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.

Quarterly global smartphone market
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Preliminary Data, Q1 2023
Note: OPPO Includes OnePlus

Commenting on overall market dynamics, Senior Analyst Harmeet Singh Walia said, “Smartphone shipments declined further in Q1 2023 following the weakest holiday-season quarter since 2013, as the slower-than-expected recovery in China was marred by alarming bank failures on both sides of the Atlantic further weakening consumer confidence in the face of unrelenting market volatility. The smartphone market was also hit by some major brands supplying fewer new devices to a market struggling with high inventories at a time when consumers are choosing to renew less often, but with more durable smartphones when they do buy.”

Consequently, global smartphone revenue and operating profit also declined, although not as much as shipments. This was due, in part, to the lower-than-usual decline in Apple’s shipments, to 58 million units in Q1 2023. Apple thereby managed to capture nearly half of all smartphone revenues. While Samsung’s shipments declined 19% YoY despite growing by 4% QoQ to 60.6 million units, the launch of the Galaxy S23 series enabled Samsung’s ASP to increase to $340, up 17% YoY and 35% QoQ, which in turn contributed to global revenues falling relatively less. Apple and Samsung also remain the most profitable brands, together capturing 96% of global smartphone operating profits.

Major handset vendor's shipment
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Preliminary Data, Q1 2023
Note: OPPO Includes OnePlus

Commenting on Apple’s performance, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “Apple outperformed the market due to several factors. Firstly, the stickiness of its ecosystem prevents its customers from choosing a cheaper smartphone even in times of economic difficulty. Secondly, with sustainability becoming a priority for many, not only has Apple captured nearly half of the secondary market, it is also attracting users who are willing to spend more for longer-lasting devices. Thirdly, it is the preferred brand for Gen Z consumers in the West and is thereby positioning itself for sustained success. At the same time, it has been filling the void left by Huawei in China’s premium market. So, Apple is able to weather economic and other fluctuations better than its rivals while enjoying unflinching loyalty. This also meant Apple was able to meet the demand for the iPhone 14 series which spilt over Q4 2022, when it had problems at its Zhengzhou factory, rather than that share dissipating or transferring to rivals.”


Besides Samsung and Apple, the biggest global smartphone brands from China, Xiaomi, OPPO* and vivo, will have to wait longer for their shipments to rebound as each of them experienced double-digit annual declines in Q1 2023. This was due to a seasonal slowdown in China at a time when the country’s economic recovery is taking longer than expected. OPPO* has recently been facing challenges in overseas markets too. It has had to exit the German market after losing a patent lawsuit with Nokia. At the same time, the three brands’ revenues and profitability have struggled too. While OPPO* and vivo saw both annual shipment and ASP declines, leading to double-digit revenue declines, Xiaomi’s slight annual ASP growth could also not prevent a double-digit revenue decline in Q1 2023.

The smartphone market as a whole, too, is likely to struggle for the next couple of quarters. Commenting on the near-term outlook, Research Director Tarun Pathak said, “The persistent issues affecting the smartphone market are unlikely to abate anytime soon. Moreover, the recent decision by OPEC countries to cut oil production may lead to higher inflation rates, causing a reduction in consumers’ spending power. As a result, even if the decline in smartphone shipments stabilises, a significant recovery is unlikely before the year-end holiday quarter.”

*OPPO includes OnePlus

You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view the smartphone market share for WorldUSChina and India.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.


Analyst Contacts

Harmeet Singh Walia

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Tarun Pathak

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Prachir Singh

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2022 Global Smartphone Shipments Lowest Since 2013; Apple Regained No. 1 Rank with Highest-Ever Operating Profit Share of 85%

  • The global smartphone market declined by 18% YoY to reach 304 million units in Q4 2022.
  • Apple replaced Samsung as the top smartphone player in Q4 2022, driven by the recent launch of the iPhone 14 series.
  • The 2022 global shipments declined by 12% to 1.2 billion units, the lowest since 2013.
  • Global smartphone revenue declined by 9% to $409 billion, the lowest since 2017.
  • Apple achieved its highest-ever global smartphone shipment, revenue and operating profit share in 2022.

London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Denver, Buenos Aires – February 3, 2023

The global smartphone market remained under pressure in Q4 2022 with shipments declining by 18% YoY to the lowest level for a holiday quarter since 2013, even as they grew by 1% QoQ to 303.9 million units, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. Shipments for the full year 2022 also declined to 1.2 billion units, the lowest since 2013.

Commenting on overall market dynamics, Senior Analyst Harmeet Singh Walia said, “The war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, economic uncertainty and macroeconomic headwinds kept the consumer sentiment weak in 2022 while smartphone users reduced the frequency of their purchases. The smartphone market remained under pressure in the fourth quarter of 2022 as the cost-of-living crisis, shortage in the labor market and a decline in consumers’ purchasing power resulted in double-digit declines in the shipments of each of the top five smartphone players.”

Consequently, global smartphone revenue and operating profit also saw a decline, although to a lesser degree than in shipments. An increased mix of premium phone offerings by major OEMs drove up the overall average selling price (ASP) by 5% YoY in 2022. The 9% decline in revenue, while lower than in shipments, resulted in annual smartphone revenues amounting to $409 billion, the lowest since 2017. A larger decline was prevented by a 1% growth in Apple, the only top five smartphone OEM to do so.

Commenting on Apple’s performance, Research Director Jeff Fieldhack said, “having proficiently managed its production problems, Apple was able to weather a year already marred by economic and geopolitical turmoil better than other major smartphone players. Its iPhone Pro series continued performing well and its share of iPhone shipments could have been even higher if not for the production issues caused by the COVID-19 breakout at the Zhengzhou factory, which produces the vast majority of Pro series volumes. As a result, some Pro series volumes got pushed to January.”

Consequently, its shipment, revenue and operating profit declined YoY in Q4 2022. However, it outperformed a struggling smartphone market in terms of shipment, revenue and operating profit growth, in turn achieving its highest-ever shares of 18%, 48% and 85% in these metrics respectively, in 2022.

Apple also benefited from the premium segment, its primary constituency, being less severely affected by the economic and geopolitical uncertainties that marred the year. Moreover, mature smartphone users are now choosing premium devices that last longer.

Elaborating on the ‘premiumization’ trend, Research Director Tarun Pathak said, “premiumization can also be seen within the Android ecosystem and is being led by Samsung with its foldable smartphones. As a result, Samsung was the only top five OEM besides Apple to see a 1% growth in revenue, even though its shipments declined by 5% in 2022 and operating profit declined by 1%. The performance of its flagship smartphones was stronger than market projections. Nevertheless, with a smaller profit decline than the overall smartphone market, its operating profit share increased slightly to 12% in 2022.”

Chinese smartphone players suffered from domestic lockdowns for much of the year in addition to facing global economic and geopolitical difficulties. As a result, the shipments of Xiaomi, OPPO* and vivo fell by more than 20% each. Despite offering premium phones at aggressive margins, Chinese brands are yet to make headway in the premium market and have not been able to capitalize completely on Huawei’s decline. Unsurprisingly, then, their revenue as well as operating profit saw double-digit declines.

We expect the market to remain under pressure until the end of the first half of 2023 and to start recovering thereafter.


*OPPO includes OnePlus from Q3 2021


You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view the smartphone market share for WorldUSChina and India.

Related Posts


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


Feel free to reach us at for questions regarding our latest research and insights.


Analyst Contacts

Harmeet Singh Walia

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Tarun Pathak

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Jan Stryjak

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MVNOs World Digital Symposium: Dec 7-8, 2022

Our Research Vice President Neil Shah will be speaking at the MVNOs World Digital Symposium on 8th December 2022. The session will be moderated by our Research Analyst Ankit Malhotra.


Title: Analyst Address: How the eSIM-only iPhone 14 will catalyze eSIM adoption across MVNOs
Date: Thursday, December 08, 2022
Time: 2:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time
Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes



  • Ankit Malhotra, Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research


Registration link below:


MVNOs World Digital Symposium
Future-Proof your MVNO

According to forecasts, the global MVNO market will continue to grow over the next five years. The increasing demand is led by the demand for low tariff network services among consumers as well as 5G-enabled services across consumer and IoT.

Investment in 5G, eSIM and digital infrastructure is enabling new business models, applications, services, and solutions across the consumer and B2B markets.

In the consumer segment, MVNOs are able to offer compelling value-added services which include OTT partners and fixed-wireless solutions. Whilst in B2B, more and more MVNOs are offering IoT-specific connectivity, unified communications and more.

The challenge for MVNOs is to identify the right opportunities to go after and to ensure your business is set up to capitalise.

The MVNOs World Digital Symposium 2022 will focus on these areas and more.

Podcast #58 – Component Shortage: Will it drive the eSIM migration?

The COVID-19-led semiconductor shortage disrupted the supply chains of several industries. The shortage also accelerated lead times for key components such as chipsets, DDIs & PMICs that power all electronics around us. While the auto sector was heavily affected, telecom operators were also struck due to the lack of physical SIM cards as SIM plants shifted their production to higher-value technologies.

With no significant CapEx investment in mature nodes, SIM shortage means telcos cannot activate new subscriptions, potentially losing customers and market share. And while mobile network operators have been resistant to moving to eSIM, the eSIM is still gathering pace. Premium flagship smartphones from Samsung and Apple come with one physical SIM slot and one eSIM. Even the latest iPhone 14 series in the US ditches the physical SIM slot altogether and comes with eSIM-only capabilities.

With component shortages expected to continue until 2023, how do the mobile network operators reorganize their supply chain and forecast SIM needs in advance? We discuss all this and more in the podcast.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson is joined by Counterpoint’s Senior Analyst William Li, and Olivier Leroux, President and Founder of Oasis Smart-SIM to talk about how the telecom industry is dealing with disruptions due to semiconductor shortage. We also discuss the real impact of SIM shortage and the development of eSIM to mitigate some of these issues.

The podcast discussion is based on a recent joint white paper that Counterpoint Research wrote together with Oasis Smart SIM. You can download it from here.

Hit the Play Button to Listen to the Podcast

You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

01:33 – Olivier on Oasis Smart-SIM’s history and what the company does.

02:33 – William talks about chip shortages and how it has been affecting different sectors and industries.

05:37 – Olivier on how chip shortages continue to impact the telecom provider situation.

08:53 – Olivier talks about how SIM cards being made on mature nodes instead of leading nodes is forcing the SIM industry to re-adjust

11:54 – Olivier further discusses the real impact of SIM shortage on telecom operators.

13:29 – Olivier on whether components shortage is accelerating the move to eSIM?

15:57 – William on how geopolitical tensions have been impacting the chip shortage further.

18:32 – William talks about CapEx investment in legacy nodes vs matured nodes.

21:27 – Olivier on supply of physical SIM and development of eSIM market to mitigate some of the issues.

Also available for listening/download on:


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iPhone 14 Pro, Pro Max Lead US Sales in Latest Apple Launch Day

Apple announced the new iPhone 14 series on September 9, five days before last year’s iPhone 13 announcement. Apple and carrier stores across the country opened their doors at 8 am on September 16 for the official launch of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Here are the seven key takeaways from the launch:

  • Inventory is much improved over last year’s launch which was affected by component shortages
    • At opening, many Apple stores still had plenty of inventory for those looking to purchase iPhones as walk-ins, although the supply is waning now and some Pro Max models are on back order at carriers. This was very different compared to last year where customers often had to have devices shipped to them during the launch period due to shortages.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 Shipment Dates at Launch

Sources:, carrier websites

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro lead early sales
    • Early adopters and upgraders continue to opt for the Pro models instead of the base iPhone 14. This is typical for the early months of a new iPhone launch. Many are upgrading from older devices such as the iPhone X series. Fewer are upgrading from the iPhone 13 Pro series. The new deep purple color is a forerunner for color choice.

  • iPhone 14 – early upgraders are hesitant
    • Apple store and carrier reps will have a hard time convincing iPhone owners to purchase an iPhone 14 as it is almost identical to the $100 cheaper iPhone 13. Some of the improvements are an additional core on the A15 bionic chip, a 1.6% bigger battery, a slightly wider F1.5 aperture 12MP rear camera, along with crash detection and Emergency SOS via satellite (which hasn’t rolled out yet).
    • Savvy customers will know these differences and either hold off or go for the iPhone 13 instead. Reps may also advise iPhone 13 users not to upgrade, especially in cases where devices still need to be paid off or no tangible benefit can be found for an upgrade.
  • Carrier pre-order deals are similar to last year, but Verizon not the forerunner anymore
    • Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have similar pre-order deals compared to last year, offering up to $800 off for the base model and up to $1,000 off for the Pro series devices with trade-ins and unlimited plans. Verizon’s iPhone 14 Pro promotion offers another $200 via e-gift card for switchers. This is worse compared to last year when it offered an extra $500 via Prepaid Mastercard.
  • Apple store trade-in values are less competitive than last year
    • The highest trade-in values for Apple phones this year are $720 for an iPhone 13 Pro Max and $600 for an iPhone 13 Pro. Last year’s offers were better at $790 for an iPhone 12 Pro Max and $640 for an iPhone 12 Pro. Lower trade-in values make Apple’s own promotions weaker year over year.

Apple iPhone Trade-in Value Comparison


  • eSIM woes a mixed bag
    • Having eSIM-only iPhones was a big point of concern for reviewers and media as it makes switching from multiple SIM cards more difficult, especially when travelling in other countries where eSIM isn’t as widespread.
    • People who are looking to purchase a US iPhone and send it to someone abroad are also more hesitant to do so with the iPhone 14.
    • eSIM activations have been going smoothly at carrier store locations, according to reps. However, there are complaints coming from people trying to transfer their eSIMs over themselves, as this is a new and unfamiliar process for many. In addition, iOS 16 introduced a bug that impacted new device activations, which required a firmware update to iOS 16.0.1 to fix the issue.
  • Store traffic is managed by Apple’s appointment system
    • Apple has followed a system for several years now where people need to book an appointment to purchase a device. The long lines we see now are for those looking to grab an appointment spot to purchase a device. The hype of previous iPhone launches is more subdued in today’s environment.


The iPhone 14 series is off to a strong start, especially for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. It remains to be seen how the iPhone 14 stacks up compared to the similarly spec’d and more affordable iPhone 13. However, the success of the iPhone will likely continue despite the current state of the economy as Apple products are more shielded from inflationary pressures and consumers continue to see strong promotions to help sell devices.




iPhone Mini: Can it be the new SE?

When Apple launched the iPhone SE first generation in 2016, in the “Let us loop you in” event, Apple executive Greg Joswiak stated “Apple has sold over 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015” explaining that few consumers still prefer compact phones. The design of the first-generation SE was like the iPhone 5S launched in 2013, but with the latest available chipset (A9 – same as in the 6S series launched in 2015) and several spec improvements. Meanwhile, there had been a shift in the form factor for Apple since the launch of the iPhone 6 in 2014, which featured a larger 4.7-inch display.  Hence, Apple was able to use the older form factor, bringing it to a lower price band – US$399, keeping it well differentiated from its more expensive line up. Consumers who wanted to enter the Apple ecosystem at a cheaper price point were happy to make the trade-off with the smaller display.

A similar trend followed in the launch of the iPhone SE 2 in 2020. The SE 2 came with a similar design to the iPhone 8 (launched three years before in 2017). Again, with the iPhone X and XR, there was a change in the design of iPhones, and the iPhone 8 form factor had become “old”. SE 2 also featured the latest available chipset which was A13 Bionic. However, the SE 2 was more than just a smaller iPhone. With Apple focusing on a service-driven business model, the iPhone SE provided an affordable entry point to Apple’s ecosystem and the A13 could provide best-in-class experience for all Apple’s services to its consumers. It helped in bringing new users to the iPhone installed base. It was also favored by many corporate buyers looking for a lower cost and therefore, lower risk platform to run enterprise applications.

SE was again refreshed in 2022 bringing 5G capability to the mid segment in Apple’s portfolio. It also featured the A15 bionic chipset. SE 2022 performed well in some markets like Japan and the US. However, it has not been as successful as SE 2. The form factor of SE 3 now looks dated and needs an upgrade. Over, the last few years, consumers are also preferring smartphones with larger display sizes. Considering the trend, Apple has in fact launched the iPhone 14 Plus with a larger display size.

In 2016, the average screen size of smartphones was 5.1 inches. This is when SE’s first generation was launched with a 4-inch screen. However, the average screen size of smartphones sold in 2020 was 6.2 inches and 2021 was 6.4 inches. While the SE second and third generation featured a 4.7 inch screen. The gap between the average display size and SE’s display size has been widening. Hence a larger display SE is due already. This is where the iPhone mini, with a 5.4-inch display might come in.

Exhibit – Average Display Size of Smartphones 2016 vs 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Handset Model Sales

Apple launched the “mini” series with iPhone 12 and refreshed it in the iPhone 13 series. However, in terms of sales, its performance was underwhelming. From the launch, until Q2 2022, iPhone 12 mini contributed to less than 10% of 12 series sales, and iPhone 13 mini contributed less than 5% of iPhone 13 series sales. As a result, the mini-series was discontinued with the iPhone 14 launch. Likely, one of the main reasons for this underwhelming performance was the smaller display at a premium price point of US$699.

However, if Apple were to bring the ‘mini’ form factor at a lower price point of around US$429 in a refreshed SE model it would substantially change the value proposition. With the success of older generation SE devices, we have seen consumers are willing to accept some trade-offs of smaller displays in return for the overall Apple experience. Hence, re-spinning mini as a new SE would make a lot of sense. It would also allow Apple to amortize development costs related to the mini form factor such as tooling and other mechanical components.

One of the differentiating features of SE was including the latest available chipset, but in an older form factor. However, with the 14 series, Apple has shifted its strategy with only Pro models getting the latest A16 Bionic chip. While the USD prices have remained the same, there is now a wider gap between the Pro and the non-Pro models in terms of specs. A new SE, which will likely launch in 2024 (assuming the two-year SE refresh cycle), along with a larger display, will likely sport the latest available chip in the “non-Pro” iPhone models.

Note: This information is speculative and not based on any specific evidence or knowledge of Apple’s plans.


Related posts:

iPhone Mini: Can it be the new SE?
Apple iPhone 14 & Watch Series 8 focus on pro features, improved connectivity & safety
eSIM Only iPhone 14 is an Inflection Point for eSIM Adoption – Counterpoint Research
iPhone SE Gets 5G, A15 Bionic; Needs Design Revamp
New iPhone SE 5G to Open Up Mid-End Segments Across Key Regions 

Apple’s new iPhone 14 & Watch focus on pro features, improved connectivity & safety

The iPhone 14 series is official and there’s a lot to talk about the new smartphones that Apple announced at its “Far Out” event. But wait, Apple also announced the next-gen AirPods Pro TWS earbuds, and three Apple Watch models, including a rugged “Ultra” model for explorers, adventure enthusiasts, and ultra-athletes. Below is our quick analysis of everything Apple announced.

Apple iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus: New wine in an old bottle, but with a better taste

Let’s start with the new iPhones. This time, Apple has skipped the mini model and now offers a regular iPhone 14 with a 6.1-inch screen, and the iPhone 14 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen. The new iPhones retain the same design as the iPhone 13, and both have the same Super Retina XDR OLED panels with up to 1200 nits of peak brightness.

The iPhone 14 starts at $799 for the base 128GB storage model, the same as the iPhone 13, but comes with new and improved capabilities. The iPhone 14 Plus, on the other hand, starts at $899, which is $100 less than the Pro model but offers the big screen experience. Users can also choose between 256GB or 512GB storage options by paying a bit more. Apple is also offering upgrade offers to consumers where users can get up to $800 off when trading-in a qualifying iPhone – offers will vary by geo and maybe be bettered by some carriers. The iPhone 14 will go on sale starting September 16, whereas the iPhone 14 Plus will go on sale starting October 7.

One major change this time around for the new iPhone 14 and Plus models is that they are not powered by the latest SoC. Instead, Apple has equipped these smartphones with the same powerful A15 Bionic SoC that powers last year’s iPhone 13 line-up.

Source – Apple

There are other iterative improvements coming to the new models:

  • New 12MP main camera with a wider f/1.5 aperture for improved low-light performance together with a new Photonic Engine that uses software, hardware, and machine learning.
  • Users can now record 4K HDR videos up to 30fps in Cinematic Mode, and there is a new Action Mode as well which uses the entire sensor to record video and crops it to stabilize the video, like a gimbal or GoPro would do.
  • The front camera is also improved now with a wider f/1.9 aperture to improve the low-light performance, and also comes with an auto focus feature to help you capture sharp, blur-free photos and videos.
  • The iPhone 14 models support 5G network connectivity, but one major change in the US is that there is no physical SIM card, instead, these are eSIM-only iPhones.
  • Apple has also added an Emergency SOS via Satellite safety feature that lets you send emergency messages to get help when a cellular or Wi-Fi network is unavailable.
  • Another safety feature, crash detection, is a great addition that uses a high g-force accelerometer, gyroscope, and machine learning algorithms to detect a severe car crash and automatically contact emergency services.
Source – Apple

Apple iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max: Redefining Ultra-Premium with “Pro” Features

Apple is finally offering “Pro” grade features on the iPhone 14 Pro models, differentiating them from the regular iPhone 14 & Plus models. These include the latest A16 Bionic SoC built on the cutting edge TSMC 4nm process node, a new 48MP high-resolution camera, a pill-shaped notch cutout with dynamic functionality, and much more.

The iPhone 14 Pro starts at $999 for the base model with 128GB storage, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099 for the base model. Users can configure the storage up to 1TB. With carrier offers, consumers can also get up to $1,000 off when trading in an old iPhone, again, these offers may vary by geo. The new iPhone 14 Pro models will go on sale starting September 16.

Source – Apple

A16 Bionic: Key Specifications and Features

Under the hood is a new 4nm A16 Bionic SoC which focuses on enhancing three core experiences – power efficiency, display, and camera. It has nearly 16 billion transistors, the most ever on an iPhone. The SoC features a new 6-core CPU, featuring two performance cores using 20% lower power compared to the A15 Bionic, and four high-efficiency cores consuming 33% less power than the competition. Apple says that the new CPU is also up to 40% faster than the competition.

There is also a new 16-core Neural Engine that is capable of 17 TOPS powering the new iPhone’s advanced computational photography. The CPU, GPU, Neural Engine, and camera ISP perform together offering 4 TOPS to unlock new Pro Camera features on the iPhones.

Lastly, the 5-core GPU has 50% more memory bandwidth for playing graphics-intensive games. The A16 Bionic also comes with a new Display Engine that enables the 1Hz refresh rate powering new always-on display capabilities on the iPhone 14 Pro models and peak display brightness.

Dynamic Island: in-display notch, but a more functional implementation

Apple spoke at length about the pill-shaped display cutout notch, which it is calling “Dynamic Island”. We have seen Android OEMs try out different types of notches but the one on iPhone 14 Pro seems to be the cleverest implementation. Apple shrunk the selfie camera and Face ID True Depth sensor by 30%, making room for more display space.

counterpoint iphone 14 pro dynamic island
Source – Apple

So how does it work? As the name suggests, the notifications from the active apps extend and shrink, with dynamic effects and nice animation. So, whether you have a timer or music playing, these will show up in an extended form next to the camera cutout. You can then tap, or tap and hold, on the icon to expand or open that app to take action, like Play/Pause music, and more. Currently, Dynamic Island is supported by stock apps, but Apple said that it will be working with developers to bring third-party app support too.

Source – Apple

Key features of the new iPhone 14 Pros:

  • The iPhone 14 Pro & Pro Max feature 6.1-inch & 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panels with 120Hz LTPO adaptive refresh rate that can go as low as 1Hz, enabling a new Always-On display feature.
  • The display has a typical brightness of 1000 nits, 1600 nits peak HDR brightness and up to 2000 nits in outdoor conditions.
  • New 48MP camera sensor with 4-in-1 pixel binning outputting 12MP photos by default, and full res 48MP photos in Apple ProRAW mode.
  • The new camera sensor is 68% larger than the iPhone 13 Pro, with an f/1.78 aperture, 24mm focal length, 2.44um pixel size, and second-generation sensor-shift OIS technology.
  • Combined with the new Photonic Engine, the main camera on iPhone 14 Pro can capture 2x better low-light performance.
  • Similar to the iPhone 14, the Pro models also come with Emergency SOS via Satellite and Crash Detection feature.
counterpoint iphone 14 pro features
Source – Apple

New Apple Watch models: Health, fitness & safety at the core

Apple announced three new line-ups of its smartwatches – the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and a premium Apple Watch Ultra. The Series 8 & SE models will be available in GPS & Cellular variants, whereas the Ultra model will come with cellular connectivity as standard.

In terms of pricing, the Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 for GPS variant and $499 for the cellular variant. The Apple Watch SE starts at $249 for GPS variant, whereas the cellular variant is priced at $299. The most expensive, Apple Watch Ultra will start at $799.

Apple started with some brilliant storytelling on how Apple Watch technology has become key in making a huge difference in our lives, and how the health features have saved lives. The biggest addition to the new Apple Watch Series 8 is a new edge-to-edge display and a new temperature sensor for women’s health – featuring advanced cycle and ovulation tracking. This is a big achievement for Apple. All this data is end-to-end encrypted on the device and accessible via passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID. Users also get granular control over the data they share.

There is also a new G-Force accelerometer, together with GPS, mic, and gyroscope, bringing crash detection features to the smartwatch. When a crash is detected, the Apple Watch will immediately notify your emergency contacts, and can also make emergency SOS calls. But that’s not all, there is a new Low Power Mode that retains many core features like activity tracking and fall detection while disabling other features like always-on display and auto workout to extend the battery life, offering a total of up to 36 hours. This feature will also be rolled out to Apple Watch Series 4 and upwards with Watch OS9.

counterpoint apple watch series 8 features
Source – Apple

Moving on to the second-gen Apple Watch SE, it offers all the core benefits of the Apple Watch to the users at a much lower price. These include workouts and activity tracking, water resistance, high/low heart rate notifications, fall detection among other core features.

The new addition is the same motion sensors as the Watch Series 8 to support crash detection. Apple says that the display on the second-gen Watch SE is 30% larger than the Series 3, and comes with the same SoC as the Series 8, making it 20% faster than the first-gen Watch SE.

counterpoint apple watch se kids
Source – Apple

With Family Setup, users can pair the Apple Watch SE for their kids who don’t have their own iPhones yet. Features like calling and messaging contacts, sharing the location and connecting to emergency services are enabled on the watch with Family Setup.

counterpoint apple watch se features
Source – Apple

Apple Watch Ultra: Rugged smartwatch for extreme users

One common feedback from the “power users” like marathon runners, and those into adventure and exploration was that the Apple Watch’s battery life is insufficient compared to dedicated athletic watches from competitors. Clearly, the new Watch Ultra aims to cater to these power users and compete with the likes of Garmin and Suunto. It’s built to use in extreme environments – from freezing cold mountains to the extreme desert heat.

counterpoint apple watch ultra overview
Source – Apple

From the design to the build, Apple has completely reworked and reengineered this one. The Watch Ultra comes with an Aerospace Grade Titanium case which improves durability and corrosion resistance. The display is covered by Sapphire Crystal glass making it more resilient from edge impacts that can occur in extreme conditions.

counterpoint apple watch ultra crown
Source – Apple

The display is the biggest and brightest on any Apple Watch to date, making it easier to read in the harshest sunlight. And there is a new Night Mode where UI turns RED for better visibility in the dark and to preserve night vision. Apple has also added an extra action button that is customizable giving users quick access to key functions. There are dual speakers and extra mics for a loud, increased volume in outdoor conditions.

counterpoint apple watch ultra night mode
Source – Apple

Apple is promising up to 36 hours of battery life and up to 60 hours in low power mode. Better than Apple Watch, but still limited compared to some competing watches. There is a new watch face to go along with the Ultra model with critical information such as compass and dial, and details of mountains, ocean, or a trail. The watch also comes with a new, thinnest band which Apple says is convenient for making quick adjustments.

counterpoint apple watch ultra diving
Source – Apple

The Watch Ultra is also Water Resistant up to 100 meters, meaning you can use it as a dive watch.

counterpoint apple watch ultra features
Source – Apple

Apple AirPods Pro: Iterative Update with Better Audio & Long Battery Life

Apple AirPods Pro is one of the most popular TWS earbuds across the globe, and the second-gen AirPods Pro is built on the same foundation to bring in key improvements. It comes with the new H2 chip bringing key upgrades to battery life, performance, and ANC. Priced at $249, the new TWS earbuds will be available starting September 23.

counterpoint apple airpods pro 2 chipset
Source – Apple

Apple mentioned that the H2 chip unlocks high bandwidth connectivity but did not go into much detail on whether or not it supports Lossless Audio. Using iOS 16 and TruDepth camera on the iPhone to create a personal Spatial Audio profile to match your needs based on the size and shape of your ears.

The AirPods Pro offers 2X better noise cancellation, as per Apple. There is also Adaptive Transparencymode which can dynamically reduce noise, like the ones of construction equipment. One big addition is a new capacitive touch control on the Force Sensor to adjust the volume by swiping up or down.

Apple has also improved the battery life and it can offer up to six hours of listening time on a single charge, a 33% improvement over the first gen AirPods Pro. With the charging case, you can get up to 30 hours of total listening time. That’s not all, Apple has also added a small speaker in the case that buzzes, and lets you find it using the Find My app. The speaker can also buzz to indicate charging sounds and a low battery.

counterpoint apple airpods pro 2 features
Source – Apple

Key Takeaways:

  • The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus bring new experiences with improved cameras and safety features.
  • The iPhone 14 Pro models unlock new experiences with the latest chipset A16 Bionic, Dynamic Island notch, and a 48MP camera sensor.
  • In the US, Apple is going with eSIM-only iPhones, whereas the rest of the world continues to get a physical SIM + eSIM setup.
  • Apple has also introduced Emergency SOS via satellite on new iPhones.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 with a new temperature sensor focuses on women’s health and safety features like crash detection.
  • The Watch SE brings new upgrades such as a bigger display, the latest chipset, and safety features like crash detection.
  • Watch Ultra is Apple’s rugged smartwatch built for extreme environments aiming at adventure users, explorers, and deep-sea divers.
  • Apple also announced the next-gen AirPods Pro with a new H2 chip bringing improvements to ANC, battery life, transparency mode and audio.

Related Posts

eSIM Only iPhone 14 is an Inflection Point for eSIM Adoption

An eSIM-only iPhone, finally!

eSIM in Smartphones has been around since 2017, however, the adoption has grown slowly. Google started it all when it launched the Pixel 2 with eSIM Support as part of “Project Fi”. However, it has been Apple that has led the popularisation of eSIM in the industry. It introduced the eSIM technology with iPhone XS and since then all iPhones launched have been compatible with eSIM. Now Apple has introduced eSIM only SKUs in US with iPhone 14.

Following in Apple’s footsteps, other OEMs such as Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola have launched smartphones with eSIM capability, mostly in the premium segment. So far, 14 OEMs have launched eSIM-capable devices.

eSIM only iPhone has been coming


So why is an eSIM-only iPhone significant?

Apple quite simply sets the de facto standard in the industry. We’ve seen this happen multiple times over the last few years. Sure, other OEMs may be able to launch something faster than Apple, but the technology sees faster adoption once Apple uses that to sell iPhones. It happened with dual cameras, portrait cameras, the display notch with FaceID.

The same phenomenon will repeat with eSIM. Google may have been the first one to launch an eSIM capable smartphone, and Motorola may have launched the world’s first eSIM-only Phone three years before Apple but with this launch, we’ll see an exponential increase in the launch of eSIM in smartphones.

We believe the launch of eSIM is an inflection point for the industry, to help transition from the physical SIM card to eSIMs. An eSIM-only iPhone will not only embed eSIM to the mind many consumers around the world, but it will also push other OEMs to switch to eSIM in the future.


eSIM-capable Smartphone Shipments

Why is Apple choosing eSIM?

The eSIM excels across multiple attributes compared to a traditional SIM card, including provisioning, size, flexibility, security, customer experience, and, above all, cost.

From a device design standpoint, features like thinner, smaller, and more power-sensitive device form-factors, often themselves embedded in a larger machine, are also driving eSIM solutions

Self-provisioning is the biggest advantage for service providers, which drives a superior and stickier customer experience. The eSIM re-programmability extends the SIM lifecycle, bringing durability and convenience for customers.

From a consumer perspective, eSIM offers the potential for greater flexibility in how to access services seamlessly and securely. At the same time, it offers time and cost savings associated with some of the current in-store provisioning or activation processes.

There have been rumors that Apple is looking to bring a portless iPhone. Removing physical SIMs would have to be an essential part of that. I believe the introduction of dual eSIMs in iPhone 13 and now the eSIM-only iPhone 14 is the first indication that a portless iPhone is in the works. The next step would ideally be moving to iSIM by adding functionality baked directly into the “Apple Silicon” which will further save board space and give Apple even greater control over the SIM.

Are operators ready?

MNOs have been gradually adopting eSIM capabilities as many face challenges either in terms of faith in the technology, a fixed mindset or cost constraints. As the eSIM-capable device ecosystem is entering the mainstream bringing rising consumer awareness, many MNOs have integrated eSIM technology into their networks.

A further push toward eSIM has been the semiconductor shortage that has impacted availability of physical SIMs. And while many aspects of the semiconductor shortage have ameliorated, this is not fully the case for SIMs.

More than 200 leading mobile network operators in over 75 countries are already supporting eSIM provisioning and management however some MNOs have gone above and beyond when it comes to eSIM are considered L.E.A.D.E.R s in the industry. They support an average of 20 or more devices, including smartphones, smartwatches, laptops, and tablets.  Most of the operators who support eSIM devices are already supporting older Apple devices like the iPhone 13. With the launch of eSIM-only iPhone in the US, it is a signal to MNOs around the world to get ready, the eSIM is here to stay!

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