Apple pushing new industry standard for even smaller SIM cards

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is said to have proposed a new standardized SIM card even smaller than the current micro-SIM used in the iPhone 4, potentially allowing for even thinner devices.



An executive with European wireless carrier Orange shared the details on Tuesday with Reuters. Anne Bouverot, Orange's head of mobile services, said the carrier supports Apple's proposed standard.



"We were quite happy to see last week that Apple has submitted a new requirement to (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) for a smaller SIM form factor -- smaller than the one that goes in iPhone 4 and iPad," she reportedly said at the Global Technology Summit in Paris.



Apple has apparently pursued the new standard with the backing of "some major mobile operators," including Orange. It was not revealed what other companies are supporting Apple's proposal.



Micro-SIM cards were first adopted by Apple last year in the first-generation iPad. Later in 2010, the iPhone 4 also utilized the new, smaller Micro-SIM card.



Late last year, it was said that Apple was developing its own open embedded SIM card that would work with multiple carriers. That change would have allegedly allowed customers to shop for mobile service directly from an Apple Store, eliminating the need for users to work with the carriers.







But Apple was said to have abandoned those plans after carriers in Europe allegedly threatened to cut subsidies. Mobile operators reportedly accused Apple of trying to wrest control of customers away from the carriers.



While the embedded SIM plan allegedly fell apart with strong opposition from carriers, Apple is apparently taking a more partnership-driven approach with its new proposal -- and carrier backing -- for a smaller, standardized SIM card.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    29922992 Posts: 202member
    good.
  • Reply 2 of 42
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:

    Micro-SIM cards were first adopted by Apple last year in the first-generation iPad.



    Lest anyone think that Micro-SIM cards are some sort of Apple-only proprietary format, it was originally conceived in 1998 and was standardized in 2003 by the UMTS Working Party. Apple simply adopted it first (while the other handset manufacturers sat timidly on the sidelines worried about backward compatibility).



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_SIM#Formats





    That article also includes a photo of the actual 'chip', without the plastic carrier:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Di..._Card_Film.JPG



    As can be seen, there's a lot of room for further miniaturization without even having to shrink the chip itself (which could probably be reduced quite a bit further these days).
  • Reply 3 of 42
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Micro SIM looks to have failed to gain the attention of other manufacturers and rightly so - it isn't THAT much smaller than a standard SIM.
  • Reply 4 of 42
    marokeromarokero Posts: 99member
    While I'm all in favor of lessening carrier control over the devices we use, or how we use them, I don't like this anorexic drive to make devices so thin. The current iPod Touch is already thin enough imo, thinner would mean having to get unnecessary/unwanted adapters to use with my current accessories.
  • Reply 5 of 42
    scafe2scafe2 Posts: 61member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Late last year, it was said that Apple was developing its own open embedded SIM card that would work with multiple carriers. That change would have allegedly allowed customers to shop for mobile service directly from an Apple Store, eliminating the need for users to work with the carriers.



    I find it irritating that carriers can still slow down the pace of technology, such as the embedded SIM ,..in today's world a Sim card is soooo old hat,.. do you really think we will still be inserting SIM cards in our devices in a few years time ,..



    Its about time that the carriers woke up and smelt the coffee,..



    Come on Steve Jobs, ignore the carriers, implement the embedded SIM its a great idea ,...
  • Reply 6 of 42
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    I just don't think Apple understands what standards are for.



    They keep creating so many new ones, for such short lifetimes, that we lose the benefit of interoperablility and reusability.



    If this change were necessary for gaining freedom from carriers and really changed the market, then there'd be some pay back for the change; but aren't we already clear that the carriers don't want that.



    If the change is just to make devices a bit thinner, then it's a horrible idea as they'll just repeat the exercise in a couple of years and create even more incompatibility.



    Right now, if I want to go mountain biking in some other country, I can drop my iPhone SIM into a cheap unlocked local phone and stay in touch. If I wreck the phone, then no problem. This adhoc flexibility is a major benefit of real standards, rather than paper standards. Apple ( and geeks ) don't get it.
  • Reply 7 of 42
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marokero View Post


    While I'm all in favor of lessening carrier control over the devices we use, or how we use them, I don't like this anorexic drive to make devices so thin. The current iPod Touch is already thin enough imo, thinner would mean having to get unnecessary/unwanted adapters to use with my current accessories.



    Or... it could stay the same thickness with added battery capacity.



    There is no precedent in computing where the componenets became physically larger over time for the same functionality. Reduce the 'guts' to zero, and leave the packaging up to the industrial design team.



    (Put another way: the electronics necessary for a four-function calculator have been reduced to microscopic size, yet four-function calculators didn't likewise reduce to the size of a pin-head.)
  • Reply 8 of 42
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    If the change is just to make devices a bit thinner, then it's a horrible idea.



    You clearly don't design portable devices for a living. Think of what Apple (and everyone else) has to go through to design and manufacture a Cray-level computer that fits in your pocket. Why give up a significant percentage of interior volume to a dumb piece of plastic that serves no purpose other than to spread out the contact area of a 1990's-era chip?



    (And it's not just the SIM that takes up space; the entire drawer mechanism is lost volume as well.)





    Added after original reply:

    Quote:

    as they'll just repeat the exercise in a couple of years and create even more incompatibility.



    We don't know what they have in mind. If it's suitable for a decade or more would that be worth it?



    (The original SIM standard dates back to 1991, which has persisted for 20 years now.)
  • Reply 9 of 42
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Di..._Card_Film.JPG



    As can be seen, there's a lot of room for further miniaturization without even having to shrink the chip itself (which could probably be reduced quite a bit further these days).



    Not your fault of course, but why do people always take a picture of something next to a stupid dime like that? Not all of us have American dimes in our pockets and I can't even think of the last time I even used a dime, let alone an American one.



    This might be kind of radical, but how about using a ruler? You know with measurement markings on it? </gripe>
  • Reply 10 of 42
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    You clearly don't design portable devices for a living. Think of what Apple (and everyone else) has to go through to design and manufacture a Cray-level computer that fits in your pocket. Why give up a significant percentage of interior volume to a dumb piece of plastic that serves no purpose other than to spread out the contact area of a 1990's-era chip?



    (And it's not just the SIM that takes up space; the entire drawer mechanism is lost volume as well.)





    Added after original reply:



    We don't know what they have in mind. If it's suitable for a decade or more would that be worth it?



    (The original SIM standard dates back to 1991, which has persisted for 20 years now.)



    The thing with Apple in particular is that they keep generating new so-called standards so much faster than anyone can get enough use out of them. To have real-world value as a standard it has to have the longevity you mentioned for SIM cards and I don't trust that Apple would get that given how often their customers are expected to replace all their devices and buy adapters. Perhaps if they were talking about a programmable chip to make SIMs go away completely, while being able to move numbers between phones, switch carriers, and handle new rules for the next 20 years, then it might look serious.
  • Reply 11 of 42
    ojalaojala Posts: 18member
    I wonder why people don't resist this type of control?



    I haven't had a a cellular phone that was in any way linked to the carrier since 1994 when I moved to GSM from NMT900. There was just one NMT900 network so it wasn't an issue.



    I have always bought the phones from a store I wanted, without any contract, replaced with new phones when I've wanted, and kept or sold the old ones. Always used unlocked, unsubvented phones. I've usually kept the same carrier for years unless there was a problem, changing the subscription whenever necessary.



    Micro-SIM is ok because I can cut any standard SIM card to the micro size.

    If the SIM card gets smaller, I no longer have a choice of carrier as every carrier may not provide the smaller size.

    If the SIM card gets embedded, I'm stuck with whom Apple works with. If traveling, I can't no longer put in a local pre-pay SIM card and my costs to a fraction.



    I would prefer to continue to have freedom of choice.
  • Reply 12 of 42
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    The new SIM card nano. 1,000 contacts. Impossibly small.



    Only from Apple.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    This might be kind of radical, but how about using a ruler? You know with measurement markings on it? </gripe>



    So you could instead gripe about them using a ruler with English units and not metric units?
  • Reply 14 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    Micro SIM looks to have failed to gain the attention of other manufacturers and rightly so - it isn't THAT much smaller than a standard SIM.



    Then why would any phone maker use micro SD cards vs. regular SD cards? The difference in sizes is roughly equivalent.



    I really don't see why Micro SIM is such a bother, a SIM is easily modified because it's almost all plastic, and adapters are trivial to make, and cheap to buy. I made a couple in less than 15 minutes, and it worked like a champ. It makes little sense that Micro SD has been accepted, but not Micro SIM.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Not your fault of course, but why do people always take a picture of something next to a stupid dime like that? Not all of us have American dimes in our pockets and I can't even think of the last time I even used a dime, let alone an American one.



    This might be kind of radical, but how about using a ruler? You know with measurement markings on it? </gripe>



    Maybe the rulers most people have would dwarf that circuit.



    If it helps, a US dime is about 18mm in diameter. Just glancing at it, I'd say the chip is about 6mm x 10mm.
  • Reply 15 of 42
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 649member
    I mean really...
  • Reply 16 of 42
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I hope they go with my screw design. A thin screw with a flat tip for a contact point, with a thin insulator between it and the cylindrical edge for the other contact point, with the threads further separated and farther up the shaft closer to the head.



    These devices no longer need to store contract information and therefore could be reduced in data storage capacity and size in multiple ways.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    Getting thinner doesn't matter much to me anymore. I'd rather they kept it the size they have and focus on packing more cpu power and batteries into the things.
  • Reply 18 of 42
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Scafe2 View Post


    I find it irritating that carriers can still slow down the pace of technology, such as the embedded SIM ,..in today's world a Sim card is soooo old hat,.. do you really think we will still be inserting SIM cards in our devices in a few years time ,..



    Its about time that the carriers woke up and smelt the coffee,..



    Come on Steve Jobs, ignore the carriers, implement the embedded SIM its a great idea ,...



    Sure. So we can all go back to the days when the telcos decided whether or not you could update your phone (since you needed their help transferring contacts). Only this time, it'll be Apple instead of a telco controlling your usage.



    No thanks.



    As has been pointed out, one of the big benefits of a SIM is the ability to change phones on the fly. If Apple controls that function, you'll be limited only to iPhones. Say hello to sky high roaming charges when you travel.
  • Reply 19 of 42
    jetzjetz Posts: 1,293member
    For once, I would like to see Apple play nice and get the other OEMs onboard with this. So the standard catches on, with more than just Apple.



    Right now, the micro-SIM is still essentially an Apple only device.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    Lest anyone think that Micro-SIM cards are some sort of Apple-only proprietary format, it was originally conceived in 1998 and was standardized in 2003 by the UMTS Working Party. Apple simply adopted it first (while the other handset manufacturers sat timidly on the sidelines worried about backward compatibility).



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_SIM#Formats





    That article also includes a photo of the actual 'chip', without the plastic carrier:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Di..._Card_Film.JPG



    As can be seen, there's a lot of room for further miniaturization without even having to shrink the chip itself (which could probably be reduced quite a bit further these days).



    Now how about RUIM cards for CDMA phones?



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removab...dentity_Module
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