Apple reportedly aims to shrink micro-SIM card

Apple is working with carriers and standards groups to create a smaller version of the SIM card that could lead to slimmer devices, according to a Reuters report.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

A standard SIM card next to a MicroSIM card, which ships inside 3G versions of the iPad.
A standard SIM card next to a MicroSIM card, which ships inside 3G versions of the iPad Donald Bell/CNET

The micro-SIM card found in Apple's iPhone 4, both generations of the iPad, and an increasing number of mobile devices could be going on a diet once again.

Reuters reported today that Apple has put forth plans to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for a smaller version of micro-SIM that could bring extra space-saving advantages to mobile gadgets.

"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 in an interview.

Bouverot told the outlet that Orange as well as other carriers are backing the standard, which could go on to replace micro-SIM if it's adopted, which may be as soon as next year.

SIM cards hold not just phone numbers, but a customer's identity as an active subscriber to a cellular network. The technology enables customers to hop between phones or other mobile devices by switching out the card, while retaining their service from one to the next. Since the SIM's introduction, these cards have been miniaturized twice, landing at its current smallest form, the micro-SIM.

In October, GigaOm reported that Apple was working with SIM card manufacturer Gemalto to create a SIM card that was actually embedded into devices and would allow users to pick their carrier from the device without having to swap cards, and saving space within the design. Apple, and other manufacturers currently make the cards swappable, though this requires extra space within the unit, both for the card itself and its seating mechanism.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the initiative.