May 18, 2011

Apple Proposes Smaller SIM Card For iPhone, iPad

Apple is considering using a smaller SIM card in its iPhone 4 and iPad to allow the company to produce thinner devices, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) confirmed that Apple had proposed a new standard for SIM cards, although a decision about whether to begin the lengthy standardization process, which can take more than a year, has not yet been made.

"This process may take some time, up to a year or more, if there is strong disagreement between industry players. However, when there is broad consensus among the companies participating in the standards committee, the process can be accelerated to a number of months," Reuters quoted the ETSI spokesman as saying.

Mobile operator Orange welcomed Apple's move.

"We were quite happy to see last week that Apple has submitted a new requirement to ETSI for a smaller SIM form factor -- smaller than the one that goes in iPhone 4 and iPad," Anne Bouverot, Orange's head of mobile services, told Reuters.

"They have done that through the standardization route, through ETSI, with the sponsorship of some major mobile operators, Orange being one of them," she said.

The first devices using the new micro-SIM cards could be available next year.

Should Apple succeed in standardizing the smaller SIMs, other device makers would likely adopt them as well.

Apple was a contentious force in the mobile industry when it launched its first iPhone in 2007, releasing the highly-anticipated device only through selected wireless operators and essentially forcing operators to rollout unlimited data plans.

However, the company's latest move to standardize its micro-SIM is a sign of its warming relations with operators.

"As long as it supports the requirements that we have for the SIM card, which is a very important asset for operators, which we absolutely want to continue to support, then we're happy that this is a development," Bouverot said.

"It's certainly showing that they're willing to work with the standardization bodies and with the operators, which we welcome," she said.

"We're discussing how to improve our relationship."


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