Reuters is reporting that Apple has proposed a new standardized SIM card design that’s significantly smaller than the micro-SIM Apple currently employs on the iPhone 4 and iPad. Notably, Apple’s new design has already garnered support from the French cell carrier Orange. The upside to Apple’s new design is that it opens the door to smaller and thinner devices.
“We were quite happy to see last week that Apple has submitted a new requirement to (European telecoms standards body) 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, explained to Reuters.
“They have done that through the standardization route, through ETSI, with the sponsorship of some major mobile operators, Orange being one of them.”
Bouverot explained that the first devices to feature Apple’s new proposed design could see the light of day as early as 2012.
This past October, news broke that Apple was looking to develop a specialized embedded SIM card that would allow customers to choose and set up their carrier service without having to coordinate anything with the carriers themselves. While this would clearly make things easier for consumers, it also works to marginalize carriers involvement in the entire process.
Carriers, as you might expect, were none too thrilled with the idea and threatened to withhold iPhone subsidies if the plan continued to move forward.
The Financial Times reported back in November:
The operators are privately saying they could refuse to subsidise the iPhone if Apple inserts an embedded subscriber identity module, or Sim card.
The operators are accusing Apple of trying to gain control of their relationship with their mobile customers with the new Sim. The technology could allow customers to buy the iPhone and sign up for service on Apple’s website and start using it immediately.
Closer to the operators’ hearts, it could allow customers to switch more easily from one to another or insist on shorter-term contracts. It could even set the stage for Apple to resell connection service on its own, although the company has not indicated such plans.
As a result, Apple reportedly scrapped its plans for an embedded SIM chip, at least for the time being.
Out with one idea, and in with another.