Apple wants smaller SIM cards for its future phones

Anything that can be done to save space on smartphones is a good thing, according to Gartner

Apple has proposed a standard for new, smaller SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards, in an effort to free up more space on future smartphones.

The Apple proposal was filed last week, when ETSI's (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) Smart Card Platform technical committee met, according to a spokesman. So far, no decision has been made on whether accept the proposal.

If ETSI agrees to accept Apple's proposal for a new miniaturized SIM card as an industry standard, manufacturers could potentially start producing the devices by the end of the year. But for that to happen ETSI members, which include industry and government representatives, have to agree on technical details. If not that is not the case, it will take longer, ETSI said.

There are so many different things that go into today's smartphones, so anything that can be done to save space is a good thing, according to Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.

Part of Apple's motivation behind the new SIM card could be to show that the company can take part in standards development in the mobile phone market, and not just do everything on their own, she said.

Shrinking the SIM card will result in compatibility issues. However, operators could solve that using jackets that allow the smaller card to be used in older phones, said Milanesi.

Apple did not reply to requests for a comment.

Apple isn't the only one working on next-generation SIM cards. Operators are, for example, planning to put NFC (Near Field Communication) on the cards. Having NFC on the SIM card instead of integrated into the phone will make it easier for people to keep their mobile wallet when they buy a new phone, according to Orange.

Last year, a group of operators and vendors led by industry organization GSM Association (GSMA) announced a task force that will take a look at how SIM cards embedded in devices other than phones can be remotely programmed and activated.

The goal is to make it easier to bring mobile broadband to products beyond phones and laptops, including cameras, media players, navigation devices, e-readers and smart meters, according to the GSMA. Devices featuring the new SIM activation capability are expected to appear in 2012.

In February, the GSMA said the task force had finalized market requirements and had submitted the results of their analysis to ETSI.

The SIM card is still an untapped resource, and can be made more intelligent, according to Milanesi. But putting more features on the SIM card also gives operators more control, she said.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesAppleiPhonePhonesconsumer electronicsPhone applicationsMobile handsets

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?