New 40% Smaller Nano-SIM Standard, Apple’s Design May Have Been Chosen

New 40% Smaller Nano-SIM Standard, Apple's Design May Have Been ChosenFrom left to right: Nano-SIM mockup, Mini-SIM and Micro SIM

Today, according to The Verge, the European Telecommunications Institute (or ETSI) announced that they’ve selected a design for the next-generation of SIM cards known as “nano-SIMs” that will become the new standard.

While the Micro SIM has been the standard for Apple products since the iPhone 4 and are extraordinarily small in comparison to the previous-generatrion SIM cards, the Micro SIMs still “take up a significant amount of space inside a mobile device [such as an iPhone or iPad]”:

Today’s SIM card designs take up a significant amount of space inside a mobile device. This space is more and more valuable in today’s handsets which deliver an ever increasing number of features.

The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.

Apple has reportedly been pressing the matter with the ETSI to chose their nano-SIM card design over the likes of competitors (e.g. Motorola, Nokia and RIM – who reportedly collaborated to submit one unified design). Not surprisingly, during the selection process, Apple made various changes to their design, while their rivals followed suit and brought their design closer to that of Apple’s.

In the end, the two proposed designs were so similar that they were practically identical as far as dimensions go – save for an extra notch added to Apple’s competitors’ design:

Unfortunately, both Apple’s design and the more recent Motorola / RIM compromise design are exactly the same exterior dimensions — the only difference is that the update submitted by Apple’s competitors includes an extra notch to enable so-called “push-push” mechanisms in SIM slots that wouldn’t necessitate a tray. Until ETSI publishes the specs, we won’t know which of the two was chosen.

As of now, the ETSI has yet to publish any additional information, aside from measurements, regarding which design will be ruled as the standard for the next-generation SIM card. Moreover, the ETSI has refused to comment on the outcome and simply notes that a joint decision by members of the industry has lead to the judgment of a finalized design that will inevitably become the standard. Stay tuned for more coverage on the nano-SIM Apple.