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Apple Proposes Standard for Smaller SIM Cards to Make Even Thinner iPhones

Current micro-SIM (bottom right) punched out of a full-size SIM card (top right)

Reuters reports that Apple has submitted a proposal for a standardized SIM card design smaller than the micro-SIM currently used in the iPhone 4 and iPad, with the new design having apparently won the backing of French carrier Orange. The design would reportedly allow Apple and other companies adopting the card to design smaller and thinner devices.
"We were quite happy to see last week that Apple has submitted a new requirement to (European telecoms standards body) ETSI for a smaller SIM form factor -- smaller than the one that goes in iPhone 4 and iPad," said Anne Bouverot, Orange's head of mobile services.

"They have done that through the standardisation route, through ETSI, with the sponsorship of some major mobile operators, Orange being one of them," she told the Paris leg of the Reuters Global Technology Summit.
With finalization of the standard and technical issues still to be worked out, devices using the smaller SIM card could hit the market next year.

Apple made waves last year with reports that the company was seeking to deploy embedded SIM cards, a step that would remove some of the power of carriers over phone distribution. While the GSM Association and some carriers expressed interest in the idea, threats from other carriers to withhold iPhone subsidies reportedly resulted in Apple backing away from the technology for the time being.

It is unclear whether the newly-proposed standard is related to the embedded SIM technology discussed last year, but it appears to more likely simply be a smaller evolution of the removable SIM cards in use today.

Related roundups: iPhone 6, iPad Air

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
stop using the 30-pins, save space
Rating: 12 Votes
44 months ago


The iPhone was the first real smart phone. This led to Android being developed. I guarantee you that if it wasn't for the iPhone, the Android would be similar to blackberry's


Whoa, let's not state this as a fact or anything. Since the iPhone was not the first real smartphone. When it was first released it didn't even have the ability to load custom applications into the phone.

Give credit where credit is due mate; the IBM Simon came out in 1994 and had a significant amount of functionality that would later be seen in smartphones like the Handspring Treo and RIM's Blackberry line (circa 2002).

Once could argue that the iPhone was the first smartphone to be adopted by the average consumer en masse. It also defined a new form factor that now appears to be the gold standard for many of today's smartphones.
Rating: 7 Votes
44 months ago
Must say I agree with most here.... What's the point. :confused:

And when it comes to fitting such a thing into something the size of an iPad it gets even more laughable. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I can't see the point yet.

If they were going to totally redesign the whole thing from scratch and make the whole card and the reader inside/contact points, the size of a match head, then I guess fair enough.

But shaving a bit of plastic off, when the device it's slipping into is MASSIVE in comparison, the reasoning behind it is a bit lost on me I must say.

Especially where there are much more important things to worry about.

I never get that with Apple, they have some fundamental things to sort out, and yet they faff around with things like this.

It's like making a car with poor brakes and keep worrying about the material the seat covers are made from
Rating: 5 Votes
44 months ago
I am trying to figure out why Apple wants to go even thinner. At a certain point phones are just WAY WAY to thin.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago



I put my sim card in my phone once. What size it is is of little concern to me.

Smaller sims wouldn't bother me in the slightest.


if you ever use a sim to jump between phones then yes a smaller size will get to you.
As it stands Apple is the only company that uses micro Sims. Going from standard to microSim really nets the phones nothing is why no one else jumped ship. Hell I am willing to bet Apple went microsim to make it even harder to leave Apple products.

Going thinner means weaker sim cards that break easier when trying to switch between phones.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

I know we would all rather have soft sim card's but that means it gives apple the chance to make the phones even smaller?


Why do you make that (wrong) assumption?
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago
Apple made waves last year with reports that the company was seeking to deploy embedded SIM cards, a step that would remove some of the power of carriers over phone distribution.

It would have meant the exact opposite.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

Its not an assumption, that's what i got out of the post i read about people's opinions on soft sim card's . If you have an opinion against it, state it so i better understand why.


We're talking about Apple here. The company that:

a) Forces you to gain permission to use a device you've paid for (i.e. activate it) using their servers every time you restore it. If Apple's servers don't work (or they close them down) you can't use your device.
b) Requires you to download an entire 650MB+ file to update the smallest of things - USING A COMPUTER! when other manufacturers have had OTA and small updates for years
c) Requires you to sync with iTunes (I'm not even going to write about how bad iTunes is) to do the tinest of things like adding a ringtone to your phone, when other devices can do it without a computer at all
d) Plays to every whim of the carriers (particularly AT&T), restricting how people use their devices

I don't expect a "soft SIM" approach implemented by Apple to be of any benefit to consumers. The above four things benefit Carriers but not users. I expect(ed) Apple's "Soft SIM" approach to be no different.

I can't perceive how a "Soft SIM" approach implemented even by a saint would be of any benefit to consumers. It simply wouldn't offer them any more flexibility than they already have and it would take conveniences away from them.
Rating: 4 Votes
44 months ago

What does any of that have to do with a soft sim card? So what its a little bit of effort and time. You dont like going through all those hoops dont use an iPhone.


It's not the effort or the time, it's simply that people talk as if "Soft SIM" makes things more competitive or more convenient for users.

I don't see how that's the case given Apple's track record on this very area. They jump into bed with carriers in exclusivity deals and they use all of the technology at their disposal to ensure carriers get their way.

The status quo (a standardised module that can be put into any phone) promotes competitiveness and openness much better.
Rating: 3 Votes
44 months ago
Embedded sims suck and give way to much power to the carrier. I have no idea why some of your guys think they are good.

Look at Verizon/Sprint, you can't even use one phone on the other carrier because they refuse to active each other's embedded sim.
Rating: 3 Votes

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