Apple to pioneer tiny new nano-SIMs

27 Mar 2012

The iPhone 4S

If you thought the micro-SIMs contained in the latest iPhone and iPad families are small, think again. Apple has submitted proposals to ETSI for an even smaller SIM card for the fourth-generation form factor (4FF) universal integrated circuit cards (UICC).

Apple’s proposed nano-SIM will be 12.3m long and 8mm wide.

The Apple design is competing with proposals by Nokia for a new nano-SIM that is 10mm x 8mm and one by RIM that is 11mm x 9mm.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is working out standards for the next generation of SIM card to suit future phones.

The idea is that SIM cards will be smaller – almost to the scale of today’s microSD cards – to allow manufacturers to jam even more technology into next-generation smart devices and allow them to have a slimmer profile.

It could also be vital to have smaller SIM cards to fit into the multitude of machine-to-machine (M2M) devices that will proliferate in the coming years.

According to The Verge, battle lines are being drawn between Apple and Motorola (which supports Apple’s design) and the competing designs proposed by Nokia and RIM.

ETSI voting is expected to take place on the new nano-SIM standard this week.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years