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iPhone 5 nano-SIM revealed by Vodafone by mistake

The new iPhone 5 could be in shops very soon, with phone networks stockpiling new nano-SIM cards.

The new iPhone 5 could be in shops sooner than we thought -- it seems the phone networks already have unique new SIM cards stockpiled.

The new iPhone 5 is set to ditch micro-SIM cards for the even smaller nano-SIM. And Vodafone has given us a glimpse of the nano-SIM card in a blog post -- which it then hastily pulled from sight. But this is the Internet, where no matter how hard you try to stuff the cat back in the bag, the rabbit will never quite fit back in the hat.

Vodafone says it has a whopping 500,000 nano-SIMs stockpiled ready for the new iPhone, which is set to be announced this very evening. Having such a large number of SIM cards put by suggests that, as usual, Apple will waste no time after the announcement in getting the new phone into shops.

A nano-SIM card measures 12.3mm by 8.8mm and is "So slim and tiny you might only be able to handle them with tweezers," as Vodafone puts it. It's 40 per cent smaller than the micro-SIM card used in the current iPhone 4S and other phones including the Nokia Lumia range and Samsung Galaxy S3.

The smaller SIM card is just one of the components that's been shrunk inside the new iPhone, if leaked photos are to be believed. The dock connector is widely reported to be much smaller, and the headphone jack is expected to be moved to the bottom. Even the smallest saving of space inside a phone makes a difference, allowing more room for a battery or other components like a 4G chip, all squeezed into a thinner case.

Other rumoured space-saving measures in the new iPhone include a slimmer screen design. Leaked photos reveal that the iPhone 5 will sport a 16:9 widescreen display when turned sideways for watching movies without black bars.

We'll be reporting from the iPhone 5 launch this very evening, so keep it CNET from 6pm UK time for all the first news, first impressions and more. Are you planning to bag a new iPhone? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.