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ETSI chooses Apple's 'nano-SIM' design as new standard

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute on Friday selected Apple's contested "nano-SIM" design as the official fourth form factor for the SIM card standard.

The decision was made in a meeting held over the last two days in Osaka, Japan, where ETSI's Smart Card Platform Technical Committee agreed to the new form factor. The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40 percent smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, just 12.3 millimeters wide, 8.8 millimeters high, and 0.67 millimeters thick.

The new design will offer the same functionality found in all current SIM cards, and can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs.

The press release issued by ETSI on Friday did not name Apple as the backer of the chosen standard, but the dimensions listed by the institute match those of Apple's proposal. Nokia and RIM originally pushed SIM cards of different dimensions.

But earlier this month, RIM teamed up with Motorola to propose a new design that slightly tweaked Apple's original proposal by adding a notch on one edge that would secure the card in place when inserted. It's unknown whether the ETSI's chosen design includes RIM and Nokia's compromise notch added to Apple's original design.

nano-SIM
Oberthur Technologies' nano-SIM prototype. | Source: The Verge


This week's vote came a few months later than originally planned, as a decision was initially scheduled to take place in late March. However, ETSI postponed that vote as two competing camps led by Apple and Nokia were not able to come to terms on the so-called "nano-SIM" standard.

The nano-SIM battle ratcheted up after Nokia said that month that it would refuse to license its SIM patents if the ETSI chose Apple's design. As many as 50 patent families owned by Nokia could be relevant to Apple's proposed nano-SIM design.

Apple pledged royalty-free licensing of its own, now official nano-SIM design, but Nokia dismissed Apple's offering as "an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others." Nokia was joined by Motorola Mobility and Research in Motion, who expressed concern that Apple could own the patents related to the nano-SIM design, and also argued that Apple's smaller SIM card could require a special "drawer" to protect the card.

The new nano-SIM standard will replace the MicroSIM card, which was originally pushed by Apple in 2010 with the launch of the iPhone 4. Apple's nano-SIM design is about a third smaller than MicroSIM, allowing smartphone makers to potentially build even smaller devices.

Apple was said to have initially pursued an embedded SIM design that would have allowed users to select a carrier and service plan directly from their iPhone. But those plans were reported to have greatly upset Apple's carrier partners, who felt they would be marginalized by an embedded SIM.

The lack of interest from carriers prompted Apple to abandon those plans, and instead push forward with a design for a much smaller SIM card. While Nokia, RIM and Motorola stood in opposition, most European carriers were in Apple's corner on the ETSI nano-SIM vote.
post #2 of 58

Boom. Good. Now 6th gen iPhone production can start.

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post #3 of 58

Nokia is screaming like a baby about patents because Apple made the format free to use and RIM and Moto are complaining about............... a notch.

 

1. Nokia, shut up. You get it for free.

2. A notch... I can't get over that, especially when these things are placed in a tray.

 

Congrats, Apple. You look the least like a spoiled, bratty child in this line up.

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post #4 of 58

LOL, how is it Apple's design if the ETSI didn't say that? Anyway, good to know that they are moving on.

post #5 of 58

"Design" as in, we cut all the extra plastic away... that's not a design ;)

 

And Apple's design was only free if all other parties made all other current sim card patents free as well, and again which part of the 'patent' would be free if they just cut away the extra plastic.

post #6 of 58

I suppose this change only has a real benefit to Apple since most of the Android smartphones are larger in size and should have much more room inside to place components than the iPhone does.  Apple also needs to shrink their dock connector to get additional space.

post #7 of 58

It ain't over 'til the Finnish lady sings. The article is not clear whether Nokia is going along with this or are they going to cause trouble. Just what the industry needs--another court case. 

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post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Nokia is screaming like a baby about patents because Apple made the format free to use and RIM and Moto are complaining about............... a notch.

 

1. Nokia, shut up. You get it for free.

2. A notch... I can't get over that, especially when these things are placed in a tray.

 

Congrats, Apple. You look the least like a spoiled, bratty child in this line up.


That notch is critical (so they say) to tray-free designs.  Motorola and RIM didn't throw that proposed small change out there just for the heck of it.

post #9 of 58

Oh, I'm really, really concerned about that missing notch.

 

I can definitely see myself accidentally sticking it in my eye without that.

 

The sky is falling!

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post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Boom. Good. Now 6th gen iPhone production can start.

 

Which if "speculated" leaked photos of it are true, will be named iPhone 4T, because the photo shows no real design difference from the overall design of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S and if Apple sticks to the MO of letters defining iPhone like "S" is for 'Speed' in iPhone 3GS and "S" is for 'Siri' in iPhone4S, then next iPhone will be iPhone4T whereas the 4 represents no change of overall design (meh, small dock connector and center of face time camera aside) and the "T" is for 'Tall'...

 

Apple can call it iPhone5 all it wants, but we know!  We know!!!

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post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Nokia is screaming like a baby about patents because Apple made the format free to use and RIM and Moto are complaining about............... a notch.

 

1. Nokia, shut up. You get it for free.

2. A notch... I can't get over that, especially when these things are placed in a tray.

 

Congrats, Apple. You look the least like a spoiled, bratty child in this line up.

 

2. I think Nokia's point is that they don't want to have to have a tray.  In Europe SIMs can get swapped out often enough that a push-in-push-eject mechanism makes some sense.  Still, I'm sure they'll figure something out.

post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post

Nokia is screaming like a baby about patents because Apple made the format free to use and RIM and Moto are complaining about............... a notch.

 

Actually, there is a little more to it than "a notch". The current design needs to slip into a tray that gets inserted into a device.
The "notch" would allow it to slip into a slot, and lock into place until released. That notch is an elegant solution that would have allowed either a tray or a slot loaded SIM solution to be implemented. I hope that Apple conceded the point, and the notch based design won out.

 

If nothing else it would build good will and greater acceptance of the new standard among the other manufacturers. Lets face it, while Apple might dominate the US smartphone market (and before the fandroids pipe in - we are talking manufacturer of devices, not operating systems) - they are NOT the global leader in cell phone manufacturing. Sometimes you have to play nice with others in the sandbox. Nokia is no longer the big kid in the box, they need to learn to play nicely as well.

post #13 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Oh, I'm really, really concerned about that missing notch.

 

I can definitely see myself accidentally sticking it in my eye without that.

 

The sky is falling!

 

I think that the notch will be there though. Most likely the ETSI went with Moto/RIMs design. It has the same dimensions as Apple's, and dimensions is the only published info so far.

post #14 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post
Which if "speculated" leaked photos of it are true, will be named… …iPhone4T whereas the 4 represents no change of overall design (meh, small dock connector and center of face time camera aside) and the "T" is for 'Tall'…

 

You know… that's just crazy enough to be true. And T comes after S in the alphabet, so it fits the industry standard of "all of our customers are idiots, bigger numbers and later letters mean 'better' products".

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tokenuser View Post
The current design needs to slip into a tray that gets inserted into a device. I hope that Apple conceded the point, and the notch based design won out.

 

No, it doesn't… I've seen several non-tray designs. A tray is certainly not required. I hope Apple did not concede the point, for the sake of everyone else's phones. The iPhone is going to use a tray, but everyone else will default to push-push, which is a horrible idea for this sort of thing.

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post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

The iPhone is going to use a tray, but everyone else will default to push-push, which is a horrible idea for this sort of thing.

 

Why is push-push a horrible idea?  The tray is not a huge problem, but having to hunt for a paper clip the few times I've needed to swap SIMs between iPhones with my wife is irritating. 

post #16 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post
Why is push-push a horrible idea?

 

The idea of designing a thing that you remove once every two years around a technology designed to facilitate daily removal is laughable.

 

Never mind the dirt that will get in there… unless you have a door or stupid little piece of rubber over it. Which then forces you to design your phone around the door and the depth of the SIM area is increased to the same as if you had used a tray in the first place. Not to mention that I don't understand how having the hardware needed for the push-push feature could take up less space than a bare slot with pin contacts ready for a tray to be pushed in.

 

Never mind also that no inset tab is needed for push-push, as evidenced by any push-push SD card implementation. Their design is an excuse to get new patents and have total control. Apple just made the existing design smaller.

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post #17 of 58

Niiiice. 

post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40 percent smaller than the current smallest SIM card ...... Apple's nano-SIM design is about a third smaller than MicroSIM ...

 

40% or 33.3%?  Not much savings either way I guess.  

 

The really interesting part of this story is the politics (Nokia's hissy fit etc.), the technology is kind of a fail.  

IMO Apple's original proposal was almost the only change worth making. 

 

Edit: Another mistake in the article is that ETSI has only announced the size of the new nanoSIM, and the competing designs are all the same size, so to say "Apple's design has won" is not necessarily correct.  Also, even if it does turn out to be the modified Apple proposal, it would be more correct to call it the Apple/Motorola/RIM design, not the "Apple design."


Edited by Gazoobee - 6/1/12 at 7:52am
post #19 of 58
Apple said that the notch was a bad idea because it toolk away needed space on the card for data

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post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The idea of designing a thing that you remove once every two years around a technology designed to facilitate daily removal is laughable.

 

Never mind the dirt that will get in there… unless you have a door or stupid little piece of rubber over it. Which then forces you to design your phone around the door and the depth of the SIM area is increased to the same as if you had used a tray in the first place. Not to mention that I don't understand how having the hardware needed for the push-push feature could take up less space than a bare slot with pin contacts ready for a tray to be pushed in.

 

Never mind also that no inset tab is needed for push-push, as evidenced by any push-push SD card implementation. Their design is an excuse to get new patents and have total control. Apple just made the existing design smaller.

Exactly. 

 

There are plenty of ways to design around this with it not having a notch. Was just an excuse so they could maintain patents. Now no patents / excuses on something that everyone has to use. Win win imo.

 

 

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post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post

i still dont understand the argument aganist dust and dirt getting in there. with the card in place, there should be almost no room for anything to get in. . you dont seem to take issue with dirt getting into your uncovered docking port or headphone jack, so why focus on this.

 

 

Considering most current smart phones, similarly compared to most pc laptops, they definitely do not design their products with precision. There are bigger gaps, clunkier refinements. Taking this into account, it most certainly would be collecting dust.

 

 

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post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by majjo View Post
while it is true that youll probably never change sim cards in the usa, the same cant be said, nor should it be assumed for the rest of the world.

 

Granted, I suppose. If paper clips are few and far between in Europe, then I guess swappability would need some other method.

 

Quote:

as i understand it, the notch was more about locking it in place in  push pull config than actually being  not able to implemt it.

 

So that it wouldn't require a door, you mean? Interesting, but I've not noticed any trouble with SD card push-push mechanisms holding smooth cards in place. I wouldn't bring that up except SD cards basically look exactly like a bigger version of a SIM card.

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post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Exactly. 

 

There are plenty of ways to design around this with it not having a notch. Was just an excuse so they could maintain patents. Now no patents / excuses on something that everyone has to use. Win win imo.

 

How about the fact that those other companies actually had time and money investments in creating those patents? Now Apple wants access to them for free for doing what exactly? For a "design" that couldn't be more obvious? (Hey, let's cut off the excess plastic, patent it and call it new.)

post #24 of 58

WAIT, what am I thinking?! Why not a push-push tray?

 

Then you don't need any hole-pokers and both sides get what they want. Except, you know, the side that isn't Apple, because they wanted control over the entire format.

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post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Granted, I suppose. If paper clips are few and far between in Europe, then I guess swappability would need some other method.

 

 

So that it wouldn't require a door, you mean? Interesting, but I've not noticed any trouble with SD card push-push mechanisms holding smooth cards in place. I wouldn't bring that up except SD cards basically look exactly like a bigger version of a SIM card.

It's not a big stretch to imagine not having a paperclip handy. It's not exactly a daily essential item for most people.

 

Except all SD cards have notches in them.

post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregInPrague View Post

 

Why is push-push a horrible idea?  The tray is not a huge problem, but having to hunt for a paper clip the few times I've needed to swap SIMs between iPhones with my wife is irritating. 

Yeah, try finding a paper clip in Central America. They apparently don't use them in many offices so they are very difficult to find. Even the cell phone store didn't have anything to open my iPad last year. Just a heads up when you travel there, take your own paper clip.

 

But I don't think I like the idea of having the sim exposed with push-push design. I would be concerned that it might pop out accidentally or collect dust and dirt inside without a cover.

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post #27 of 58

From the Verge:

 

Nokia now says that it will license any essential patents to the standardized 4FF under FRAND terms, meaning any OEM will be able to use or make nano-SIM cards without fear that Nokia will deny licensing and threaten an injunction. That's not to say Nokia's happy — it still calls Apple's card "technically inferior and not suitable for a number of applications."

Here's Nokia's full statement:

Nokia continues to believe that the selected nano-SIM proposal is technically inferior and not suitable for a number of applications, but the ETSI Smart Card Platform Technical Committee has now made its decision. Nokia believes that the existing micro-SIM (3FF) will continue to be a preferred option for many manufacturers and devices and so ultimately the market will decide whether 4FF is widely adopted.

As Nokia believes that ETSI has taken steps to address Nokia's original concerns over the standardization process, we have advised ETSI that we are prepared to license any Nokia patents which are essential to implement the standard, on FRAND terms.

Separately, a Nokia spokesman tells us that he "believes" the selected design was Apple's — not the Motorola-RIM compromise proposed several weeks ago that included an additional notch for so-called "push-push" designs. If true, this means that it'll be more difficult to design nano-SIM phones that use slots to hold the card rather than a tray, but we're still looking for confirmation. More on this as it develops.

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post #28 of 58

The "push-push" design is not necessarily external. It is often implemented under the removable battery (remember those? just because Apple doesn't ave them doesn't mean its not a selling point for other manufacturers). The mobile market is much bigger than in the US. Standards need to be compatible and non-exclusive. IF the notch is there, that will placate European manufacturers as well. Technologically it might (doubtful) reduce the available memory on the card (how much data do you need on a card with a smartphone anyway?? I don't think Apple would care too much), but politically it would score a lot of brownie points with the rest of the cellular industry.

post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

You know… that's just crazy enough to be true. And T comes after S in the alphabet, so it fits the industry standard of "all of our customers are idiots, bigger numbers and later letters mean 'better' products".

 

 

No, it doesn't… I've seen several non-tray designs. A tray is certainly not required. I hope Apple did not concede the point, for the sake of everyone else's phones. The iPhone is going to use a tray, but everyone else will default to push-push, which is a horrible idea for this sort of thing.

 

The HTC One X uses a tray for it's MicroSIM, the Nokia Lumia uses a push in slot for it's microSIM

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post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

I suppose this change only has a real benefit to Apple since most of the Android smartphones are larger in size and should have much more room inside to place components than the iPhone does.  Apple also needs to shrink their dock connector to get additional space.

 

Android phones will begin to get smaller again once the next generation LTE radio chips are released for manufacture. By the beginning of next year, half of all the "big ass" phones on the market will be gone and the race to smallest device will begin again.

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post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post
The HTC One X uses a tray for it's MicroSIM, the Nokia Lumia uses a push in slot for it's microSIM

 

Exactly, see? Thanks for the examples.

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post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

From the Verge:

 

Nokia now says that it will license any essential patents to the standardized 4FF under FRAND terms, meaning any OEM will be able to use or make nano-SIM cards without fear that Nokia will deny licensing and threaten an injunction. That's not to say Nokia's happy — it still calls Apple's card "technically inferior and not suitable for a number of applications."

Here's Nokia's full statement:

Nokia continues to believe that the selected nano-SIM proposal is technically inferior and not suitable for a number of applications, but the ETSI Smart Card Platform Technical Committee has now made its decision. Nokia believes that the existing micro-SIM (3FF) will continue to be a preferred option for many manufacturers and devices and so ultimately the market will decide whether 4FF is widely adopted.

As Nokia believes that ETSI has taken steps to address Nokia's original concerns over the standardization process, we have advised ETSI that we are prepared to license any Nokia patents which are essential to implement the standard, on FRAND terms.

Separately, a Nokia spokesman tells us that he "believes" the selected design was Apple's — not the Motorola-RIM compromise proposed several weeks ago that included an additional notch for so-called "push-push" designs. If true, this means that it'll be more difficult to design nano-SIM phones that use slots to hold the card rather than a tray, but we're still looking for confirmation. More on this as it develops.

Funny that Nokia's spokesman "believes", I'd think he should know for sure. But if Nokia have promised to license their patents, then the design must be acceptable to them.

post #33 of 58

Am I right in thinking that if ETSI has adopted Apple's design, and Apple has a patent on the tray that holds it, then nano-sim prices for hardware and patents aren't going down, but likely up in price instead?  Apple just added themselves to the revenue-receiving side for all intents. With Nokia offering their essential patents on FRAND terms then Apple will be asking for a piece of the standards money stream too assuming I've understood correctly.

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post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Am I right in thinking that if ETSI has adopted Apple's design, and Apple has a patent on the tray that holds it, then nano-sim prices for hardware and patents aren't going down, but likely up in price instead?  Apple just added themselves to the revenue-receiving side for all intents. With Nokia offering their essential patents on FRAND terms then Apple will be asking for a piece of the standards money stream too assuming I've understood correctly.

 

I wouldn't put too much weight on Apple's tray related patents. As is usual with such simple ideas, the patent should be pretty narrow to be specific enough. I'm sure other phone makers can implement a tray if they want to and not rely on any IP from Apple. HTC One X is one example that likely doesn't use the exact same method that Apple has patented.

post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The idea of designing a thing that you remove once every two years around a technology designed to facilitate daily removal is laughable.

 

Never mind the dirt that will get in there… unless you have a door or stupid little piece of rubber over it. Which then forces you to design your phone around the door and the depth of the SIM area is increased to the same as if you had used a tray in the first place. Not to mention that I don't understand how having the hardware needed for the push-push feature could take up less space than a bare slot with pin contacts ready for a tray to be pushed in.

 

Never mind also that no inset tab is needed for push-push, as evidenced by any push-push SD card implementation. Their design is an excuse to get new patents and have total control. Apple just made the existing design smaller.

 

Hi. My dear American friend, once again I have to contradict you. You fail to recognize the fact that not every iPhone owner lives in Eastern Texas.

You see, there is that small place called Europe, which represents a negligible market for Apple. That small place, while mainly composed of cavern men pictured on Fox News, happens to have several very different countries; ranging from kingdoms to republics, they also have different telcos. For example, KPN or Vodaphone in the country I work in, Netherlands, Bouygues or Orange or SFR in my own country, France, in which I spend most weekends. I routinely travel to UK or Belgium. Owning a phone number in one country is a paltry 15 euros for 6 months at most, renewable for 5 euros. Needless to say, I have three sims, and swap out twice a week at least. Push push is great.

 

I hope you have enjoyed learning something you obviously did not expect to exist, and wish you a pleasant flight to Europe if you ever decide to visit us :p

 

PS: Greece needs tourism dollars.

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post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booga View Post

 

2. I think Nokia's point is that they don't want to have to have a tray.  In Europe SIMs can get swapped out often enough that a push-in-push-eject mechanism makes some sense.  Still, I'm sure they'll figure something out.

 

Europe have sim free or pay as you go everything. The iPhone has been sim free for years in the UK.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tokenuser View Post

 

Actually, there is a little more to it than "a notch". The current design needs to slip into a tray that gets inserted into a device.
The "notch" would allow it to slip into a slot, and lock into place until released. That notch is an elegant solution that would have allowed either a tray or a slot loaded SIM solution to be implemented. I hope that Apple conceded the point, and the notch based design won out.

 

If nothing else it would build good will and greater acceptance of the new standard among the other manufacturers. Lets face it, while Apple might dominate the US smartphone market (and before the fandroids pipe in - we are talking manufacturer of devices, not operating systems) - they are NOT the global leader in cell phone manufacturing. Sometimes you have to play nice with others in the sandbox. Nokia is no longer the big kid in the box, they need to learn to play nicely as well.

Just use a tray like before. The Micro Sim has a notch in the corner so you know which way around it goes, but it doesn't use it to hold it in place because the tray it uses (at least on the iPhone) have walls that go around the card as well as under them.

IMG_8230.JPG

 

 

This is why I think complaining about a notch is just silly when methods to have trays that fit the bill already in use. Not to mention the original mini sims just slid into a clamp inside the phone.

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post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by benanderson89 View Post
This is why I think complaining about a notch is just silly when methods to have trays that fit the bill already in use. Not to mention the original mini sims just slid into a clamp inside the phone.

<sigh> Yes. You can use a tray. But not every manufacturer wants to use a tray in their design. 

The notch being referred to is not for people trying to insert the sim incorrectly. That is a red herring. Don't even bring it up. 

 

This is an Apple forum, and will be Apple biased, but this is not an Apple issue - it is a standards issue. The inclusion of a notch (for locking the sim in place for a push push scenario) allows a manufacturer the option of implementing a slot load, or an internal sim under a clip, or a tray. But as a consumer, I can walk into <insert carrier> store, and purchase a sim that will work with my phone - regardless if it has the Apple logo, one of a bajillion Android logos, or a cheap "feature" phone.

It also means that if my expensive smartphone drops in the pool while I am in the Azores, I can pick up a cheap phone that will accept my existing sim, and be up and running again quickly. 

 

Standards are great when they are used - terrible when they are uniquely tweaked by a vendor.

 

What are we arguing about anyway? A standard that has kinda sorta but not really announced with a non confirmation by another vendor that they standard might (or might not) be the one submitted by Apple? Save the real arguing for when there are some facts, and not speculation.

post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Oh, I'm really, really concerned about that missing notch.

 

I can definitely see myself accidentally sticking it in my eye without that.

 

The sky is falling!

 

Watch out, while you are blinded by sticking it in your eyes, Tim Cook might steal your french fries.

post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post
Watch out, while you are blinded by sticking it in your eyes, Tim Cook might steal your french fries.

 

Have I missed something somewhere? When did "Tim Cook wants my fries" become the new "take a picture of an unreleased product in an elevator"? lol.gif

Originally Posted by asdasd

This is Appleinsider. It's all there for you but we can't do it for you.
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Originally Posted by asdasd

This is Appleinsider. It's all there for you but we can't do it for you.
Reply
post #40 of 58

Not True, the micro sim cards are starting to appear in Android as well...everyone is about saving space for more battery etc...

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