Smaller SIM Card Standard Could Be Ready Next Year
Following on Apple's proposed standard for smaller SIM cards, a German company has proposed its own standard. Giesecke & Devrient, the company that developed the world's first SIM card, has proposed the so-called "nano-SIM" as a card one-third smaller and 15 percent thinner than the current smallest card, the micro-SIM, that's used in the iPhone 4 and 4S and both generations of 3G iPad.
Apple has expressed a distinct interest in reducing the size of or eliminating SIM cards entirely, moves which would save space to allow Apple to either further shrink its devices or make room for other new or larger components. Late last year, Apple was said to have worked with Gemalto to develop a built-in SIM card which would use a chip to store subscriber information. But while the GSM Association and several carriers appeared to be in support of Apple's idea, other carriers threatened to withhold iPhone subsidies if Apple moved forward with the plan, objections that reportedly led to Apple scrapping the soft-SIM idea, at least for the time being.
With carriers nixing the idea of SIM card-less GSM phones, Apple apparently refocused its efforts on shrinking the size of the card further than the current micro-SIM size. Those efforts led to Apple's proposal for the new SIM card standard, which has been under review by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and has the support of a number of carriers.
According to today's report, G&D has submitted its design to the ETSI, the standards organization behind the three standard sizes of SIM cards (full-size, mini-SIM, and micro-SIM), illustrated above. It is unclear, however, whether the nano-SIM design discussed in today's report is related to Apple's proposed design. Regardless, ETSI reportedly hopes to have the new nano-SIM format standardized by the end of this year, and an adapter will exist to make the new SIM backwards-compatible with older devices.
(Image via Flickr/William Hook)