Apple's nano-SIM card design approved by ETSI

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has approved the nano-SIM card design that was proposed by Apple, reports Ars Technica. The new nano-SIM card is 40 percent smaller than the current micro-SIM card standard in many modern cell phones.

Size is obviously a major issue for cell phones and other devices that use SIM cards, and smaller components mean technology manufacturers can save the extra space for other hardware that can provide better features or battery life.

"Today's SIM card designs take up a significant amount of space inside a mobile device," ETSI said in a statement. "This space is more and more valuable in today's handsets which deliver an ever-increasing number of features."

The newly approved SIM card design is the fourth form factor (4FF), and measures 12.33mm wide by 8.8mm tall by 0.67mm thick (0.48" x 0.35" x 0.03"). Nano-SIM cards will be backwards-compatible with slots designed for micro-SIM cards, which will help manufacturers make the transition more smoothly as the new nano-SIM spec is implemented in future hardware.

A rival design specification was submitted by RIM and Motorola. Their design and Apple's eventually converged after modifications on both sides, and very few differences remained at the end. The major differentiating feature at the end was a notch on RIM and Motorola's design, that would allow handsets to use the "push-push" design - where cards can be inserted by pushing the SIM into the slot and removed by pushing again - instead of a sliding tray for the cards.

While ETSI did not specifically say that Apple was the winner, a member of the committee, Giesecke & Devrient did, according to Macworld.

Source: Ars Technica

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19 Comments

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drazgoosh said,
Can anyone actually hold the sim card? What if they want to replace sim cards? That'll be hell.

My understanding is that this "nano card" is like the "micro card" Apple and Nokia use today so yes, you can hold.
Heck, I remember when the Sim cards were as big as a credit card............

What this article fails to state that the Nano-Sim was in development by a number of companies *including* Apple, I very very much doubt Apple could develop something so complicated such as a Sim design all by themselves.

The article does not say, so does it have the notch or is it identical to the MicroSIM?

I'm disappointed that they did not implement a user programmable SIM card implemented in software which does not require a physical SIM card, which works the same as long as they user can authenticate to the network with an access code to program the right SIM card.

Edited by Simon-, Jun 2 2012, 4:03am :

Well earlier they made mobile smaller.. As small they could they did but with touch screen / HD and high speed wireless streaming, it seems the mobile is now larger / bigger is better !!!

Where is the space crunch in today's iPhone / Lumia 800 or such by the way ???

Choto Cheeta said,

Where is the space crunch in today's iPhone / Lumia 800 or such by the way ???

Battery. They want as much room for the battery as possible.

I don't care, as long as it doesn't lead to more patent trolling or paying a license fee to use the design.

Enron said,
I don't care, as long as it doesn't lead to more patent trolling or paying a license fee to use the design.
It will. Give it time.

Considering that Nokia's and RIM's design are incompatible with the current SIM card standard, I'd say that Apple's design - basically a "normal" SIM card without any unneeded plastics - is the best idea.

MFH said,
Considering that Nokia's and RIM's design are incompatible with the current SIM card standard, I'd say that Apple's design - basically a "normal" SIM card without any unneeded plastics - is the best idea.

Interesting it's backwards compatible... how do they achieve this does it have a cradle or something for fitting a bigger slot?

lt8480 said,

Interesting it's backwards compatible... how do they achieve this does it have a cradle or something for fitting a bigger slot?

I have an HD7 and a Lumia 800; when I bought the latter the store gave a couple of "SIM holders" where you fit the micro card used by the Nokia and slide in the receptacle of the HD7. Very thin and simple to use. Oh they gave them for free of course.

That's exactly why there making there own, they don't want YOU having control over anything. Size isn't an issue for MicroSDs, everyone accepts that, it's all about proprietary down the road.

eilegz said,
i rather have normal sim, since its the most used...

you do realize that all of the empty space on normal sim card is exactly that, empty space. There is nothing in it but plastic. so a sim card with just the chip itself, is the best thing that can be done with them.

Okay, you know that your headline is misleading and irresponsible.

i'm not saying Apple design wasn't approved, but you do know that Apple has a number of committee members on their side so for a member of the committee saying anything means nothing.

So the Apple version that requires a tray "beat" the identical (except a notch) design that doesn't specifically need a tray...

Seems completely illogical to me, the Apple design seems worse... how did that shambles happen?

(Maybe Apple are planning to sell the plastic trays /s)

lt8480 said,
So the Apple version that requires a tray "beat" the identical (except a notch) design that doesn't specifically need a tray...

Seems completely illogical to me, the Apple design seems worse... how did that shambles happen?

(Maybe Apple are planning to sell the plastic trays /s)

They're going to let anyone use this type of SIM without paying royalties, but the tray is patented. It's just dirty.

I don't know why, but I sense an iPhone to be the size of either an iPad or an iPod Touch!

They're always trying to make their devices smaller.