SIM cards getting smaller; Apple proposes shrinking them even further

SIM cards getting smaller; Apple proposes shrinking them even further
SIM cards (Subscriber Identity Module) have not really changed much visually since their arrival to the market back in 1991. Back then, they were the size of credit cards but a different and much smaller form factor was later adopted to enable their implementation in cell phones. That is how the mini SIM card was born; just 25 millimeters long and 15 millimeters wide, it is still being used widely today.

However, times are changing and some manufacturers are starting to look for even smaller modules in order to save precious space inside their mobile devices. The even smaller micro SIM card, for example, is already in use in all 3G-enabled iPads and the iPhone 4.

Even though the micro SIM card's form factor was never widely adopted by cellphone manufacturers, Apple is suggesting that SIM cards need to be shrunk even further. Last week, Apple's proposal for a standardized SIM card with dimensions smaller than those of a  micro SIM card was submitted to ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). It didn't take long before Orange, the world's eighth largest telecom operator and one of Europe's most popular wireless carriers, expressed its support for the proposal.

If the idea gets approved by ETSI, having “nano” SIM cards with a smaller footprint will facilitate the production of devices that are too slim for a common SIM card to fit in them. It has been also mentioned that we may see the new modules being used in cell phones as early as 2012. However, that prediction sounds a bit optimistic. Such a transition would probably take longer than that, if it ever gets approved at all.

source: Reuters via Pocket-lint

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