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Apple Offers Nano-SIM Design Royalty-Free

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  • Isn't it just a sim card with a lot of the plastic bits trimmed off? Not exactly rocket Science..

    • Re:Royalty free? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806) on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:58PM (#39477261)
      There's a lot of news about this new standard but not much detail about the two competing designs. As for size, yes the cards are physically smaller and use less plastic, however, the design will probably contain details like power requirements, access protocols, etc that the manufacturers care about but the consumer does not.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        the sim standard for including apps/programs on the sim.. is no standard at all. they should just fuck it and use it only for subscriber information(no shitty operator menus etc).

        the normal sim is such size though that you can use it to make a phone that fits in a _watch_.

        but operators like people having to buy/get new sims from them. they like it a LOT.

    • The SIM is a smartcard with plastic bits trimmed off. The micro-SIM is a SIM with plastic bits trimmed off. By the nano-SIM they are on to trimming off bits of the metal too, though this does mean you can no longer mod a larger size with scissors to make it fit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Quartus486 (935104)
      But it's rectangular! We all know Apple invented that. Ask Sam Sung if you don't believe me.
    • Re:Royalty free? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:59PM (#39477273)
    • by bluescrn (2120492)
      That's the Micro SIM, and it's only been around for a couple of years as it is (only in the iPhone4/4S and iPad2/3)... That's pretty small as it is, going smaller so soon seems a bit unnecessary? I suspect that it's primarily so that carriers can charge more for micro/nano SIM contracts, as they know they'll be attached to premium smartphones...
      • Re:Royalty free? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jimicus (737525) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:11PM (#39478147)

        That's pretty small as it is, going smaller so soon seems a bit unnecessary?

        You'd think so, wouldn't you? But if you take apart an iPhone, there's really not much left once you've removed the display and battery. The micro SIM slot takes up a surprising proportion of the space on the board; I can see how making it slightly smaller would increase space for the battery.

        • by icebike (68054) *

          Look at this picture: http://tectrack.blogspot.com/2011/11/forget-micro-sim-nano-sim-will-be.html [blogspot.com]
          Nano sim is thinner and 12mm X 9mm.

          Now tell me with a straight face that adding the difference between a Micro sim and a Nano Sim will make any significant difference in battery size.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Nano sim is thinner and 12mm X 9mm.

            Now tell me with a straight face that adding the difference between a Micro sim and a Nano Sim will make any significant difference in battery size.

            OK, I'll tell you with a straight face: it can. It's easy to see if you look at pictures of the current iPhone 4S motherboard and battery:

            http://guide-images.ifixit.net/igi/dCidpYqpnbZ2JiDS.huge

            http://guide-images.ifixit.net/igi/ADhhSUuY2cTIiuba.huge

            Note how the width of the main section of the motherboard defines how much of the width of the phone is left for battery to fill. Make the board narrower, more battery. Note how the micro SIM socket is the largest component, and the motherboard can't get any

            • by gl4ss (559668)

              *This is why there were stories a while back about Apple trying to push carriers into replacing the physical SIM with a blob of data stored in the phone's main flash storage. It's one of the largest non-battery internal components, and it does so little, so of course engineers want to reduce its size (or eliminate it).*

              well, that's what operators who wish to be the only source of phones for their network want.. (cdma)

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            Not by itself, but when you do that with EVERY part, it starts to add up.

    • It is probably more advance than any Apollo... The Apollo series is complex but still cast iron technology by comparison I guess.

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Sounds like a nasty old man in the park saying " here little girls, have some candy for free" hoping to set the standards for nasty old men talking to little girls in parks...
      Beware of Apples bearing grifts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @02:56PM (#39477243)

    I guess their standard will be the MicroSoft-SIM

  • Why (Score:2, Interesting)

    by M0j0_j0j0 (1250800)

    The question is, Why the fuck are we still using SIM cards?

    • by Lucky75 (1265142)
      And the alternative is? I like the idea of being able to switch networks and numbers without having to switch phones.
      • Some signed microcontroller , of course we all know why, telcos could never live in a world where the consumer could just switch operator with a phonecall, it probably terrifies them.

        • by Desler (1608317)

          Yeah because sliding the backing off of the phone and sliding in a new SIM card, about 10 seconds at worst, is just so much trouble.

        • Re:Why (Score:5, Insightful)

          by realityimpaired (1668397) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:25PM (#39478283)

          We had that previously. With CDMA networks. Phones with no SIM card.

          And you know what happened? The carriers got in league with each other and said "we agree not to activate phones you sold for your network, if you agree not to activate ours." The result was that you could easily switch carriers with a phone call, and keep your number, too, but you had to buy a new phone.

          SIM cards get around that... They still sell phones that are "locked", but they can be unlocked. Once a phone is unlocked, it can be used with any carrier, when you put the SIM in.

          *that* is why we're using SIM cards.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Maybe I'm missing something here, but it sounds like a case where the consumers won by not buying into the vendors' schemes. For a long time, we had two choices: vendors with CDMA and no SIM card (Verizon & Sprint), and vendors with GSM and SIM cards (AT&T and T-mobile). Now, if I understand correctly, with the newest networks, they're basically all using the same technology (LTE?), and all the phones are compatible and use SIM cards. So whether it was consumer demand, or lower costs due to stand

            • by kqs (1038910)

              Nope. In Europe, the consumers won because the European governments passed laws/rules to force cell companies to unlock phones.

              In the US, we lose because the telecoms pay lots of lobbying dollars to avoid those eeevil job-killing regulations, so you can only usually only switch carriers if you figure out how to unlock the phone yourself. I think that T-mobile will unlock their phones after a certain amount of time, but that doesn't seem to have helped them much.

              • by Grishnakh (216268)

                The phone-unlocking thing is only needed if you're switching carriers; you can still swap SIM cards between two phones on the same carrier (with phones that use SIM cards). This surely isn't something the carriers want that much, so I think maybe we can thank Europe (and maybe other markets) for this one: it's expensive to make different versions of a phone (or any product) for different markets, so at least some of the carriers may be simply buying the phones as-is from the handset makers, who make them t

          • by Anonymous Coward

            They also had insane activation fees. I remember seeing once that Sprint's activation fee was $200 (this was ~10 years ago, so it may have changed), but if you bought your phone from a Sprint Authorized Retailer it would be waived.

          • SIM cards get around that... They still sell phones that are "locked", but they can be unlocked. Once a phone is unlocked, it can be used with any carrier, when you put the SIM in.

            *that* is why we're using SIM cards.

            The Verizon Droid 2 Global proves that SIM cards do not get around that.
            The Droid 2 Global has a GSM radio technically compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile GSM networks in the US.
            However, upon unlocking the Droid 2 Global SIM card it will still not work on American GSM networks.
            Some claim that altering the radio firmware allowed the Droid 2 Global to jump on US GSM networks, but I have never found an exploit available.

            I always wondered if CDMA phones from say Sprint and Verizon could technically cr

      • Re:Why (Score:4, Informative)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:29PM (#39477655) Homepage
        Also, I like the idea of being able to switch phones without going through my carrier. I've been with carriers on the CDMA networks that don't have SIMs. $35 service fee just to switch phones. No thank you.
        • by mlts (1038732) *

          There are carriers who will refuse to let phones on their networks unless they originally sold them. I'd rather just swap SIM cards, as opposed to have to beg, plead, and wheedle for them to use the ESN for a new device.

          With GSM companies, worst that happens is that they might sneak a data plan if their IMEI detector matches the number with a line of smartphones.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Also, I like the idea of being able to switch phones ...

          Sim, microsim, minisim, and nanosim are the same electronically. They have the same contact area and make the same connection in the socket. You can get an adapter to suit the socket you wish to use on your next phone (assuming the next phone doesn't have a smaller socket, in which case you can cut them up with scissors to suit :) )

    • Re:Why (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ewieling (90662) <ericNO@SPAMfnords.org> on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:08PM (#39477391)
      That is not my question. My question is Why the fuck don't all phones use SIM cards?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No kidding. I just replaced my light-duty *1999* phone with a Nokia C1. It had no problem reading and writing to the 13-year-old 16k SIM. It was kinda jaw-dropping to see a standard adhered to so well.

        (YMMV - plenty of people have old cards read okay, but then the phone jams up on write. Nokia did their homework however.)

    • Re:Why (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor f . n et> on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:21PM (#39477557)

      The question is, Why the fuck are we still using SIM cards?

      Because the alternative is what we have in the US, with Verizon and Sprint selling phones that are basically only for them and make it a pain to move to another phone.

      Whereas it's trivial for someone to go and take the SIM out of their old phone, and stick it in their new phone, and be done with it. SIMs basically separate out the "subscriber" part of the service from the phone.

      It also allows people to have different subscriptions for their phone - say travelling. They pop out their home country SIM, and stick in the foreign country SIM, and away they go (provided it's not SIM-locked) - no need to buy another phone for that country for service and all that.

      I suppose to go beyond that would be Apple's "reprogrammable SIM" idea where it's built into the phone and you enter in your subscription details and it automatically downloads the necessary SIM data. Basically it boils down to a phone that asks for your username and password to your account. And you know the majority of passwords would be weak and there'll be huge inquiries as to why people can easily steal cellphone service from others.

      Anyhow, standards orgs like 3GPP are all about politics, and not technical superiority. A lot of standards are set with the "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type of thing. Companies are jostling around trying to get their patented stuff in the standard, and this can result in stuff like TD-CDMA being part of 3GPP even though it's not really used except by one company.

      And the entire mobile industry is afraid of Apple. They sell very few phones overally, but they command the majority of the profits - Apple makes more profit than the rest of the mobile industry combined. It doesn't matter if the Apple proposal is superior, or if Apple gives everyone the right ot use it royalty free. They're afraid of what would happen if Apple gets a leg into the patent ballgame - all of a sudden the juicy cash Apple pays everyone for FRAND patents dries up or becomes smaller.

      Apple's got a snowball's chance in hell. Everyone else will block it purely because letting Apple in means less money from Apple to everyone. And Nokia's got majority voting rights right now - letting Apple in means Nokia no longer can sway the vote easily for standards.

      If Apple came up with an iPhone that got 1 year battery life, Gig+ bandwidth and all that, and made with everyday parts and really cheap, they still will reject it purely from the monetary standpoint.

      It's politics, and it's why everyone's fighting so hard on something so trivial as a nano-SIM. I'm sure Apple didn't invent the micro-SIM (it was probably already in the spec for years, just Apple was one of the first to use it). And Apple certainly didn't invent hot-swap of SIMs (also in the spec - but hard to do, and the iPhone does let you do it successfully. Other phones, like the Galaxy Nexus let you remove the SIM, but require you reboot the phone to initialize the new SIM).

      Hell, I bet no one but Apple is going to ever use nano-SIM (there's a FEW phones out there using micro-SIM that aren't from Apple, but there's pretty hard to find).

      • "I suppose to go beyond that would be Apple's "reprogrammable SIM" idea where it's built into the phone and you enter in your subscription details and it automatically downloads the necessary SIM data. Basically it boils down to a phone that asks for your username and password to your account. And you know the majority of passwords would be weak and there'll be huge inquiries as to why people can easily steal cellphone service from others."

        I dont think this is the real issue, like you said, it would be poli

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Basically it boils down to a phone that asks for your username and password to your account. And you know the majority of passwords would be weak and there'll be huge inquiries as to why people can easily steal cellphone service from others.

        That's a relatively easy problem to solve. Instead of a SIM card, provide a SIM paper slip with a high density barcode that contains a 4096-bit public-private key pair and an account number. All the customer needs to do is either keep the paper slip in a safe place (fo

      • If Apple came up with an iPhone that got 1 year battery life, Gig+ bandwidth and all that, and made with everyday parts and really cheap, they still will reject it [...]

        ...because it won't run Lotus 1-2-3.

        Sorry. Old joke.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They aren't really fighting over where they're going to cut away some of the plastic that makes up most of a regular SIM card, are they? Also, what can the implied patents possibly be about? Certainly physical form of a chip carrier with a bunch of electrical contact pads isn't patentable, is it? Last but not least, is a new SIM format even necessary or is this a ploy to make SIMs go away entirely?

    • by green1 (322787) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:50PM (#39477913)

      With the current SIM standard, I can take the SIM out of a 10 year old phone, and pop it in to a brand new phone (except the iPhone that uses the micro-SIM "standard") and keep on talking. Obviously this is bad for business, so they want to make sure that I'll have to buy a new SIM to use my new phone. There is no other justification for it. There is no phone on the planet too small for a regular SIM, and as long as we need to hold the phones in our hands, there can't be.

      As for patentable... EVERYTHING is patentable.... whether it SHOULD be is a completely different question, but one that is completely irrelevant to the companies involved.

      • by wumpus188 (657540)

        It takes a pair of scissors and about a minute to cut your old full-size SIM and make it a "micro-SIM". Not sure about US (I'm guessing you're from US), but in most other countries you can replace your old SIM with micro-SIM for free.

        • by green1 (322787)

          Where I am, providers charge $10-$15 for a sim card, but they also like to tell you what sim card you need, so if you have an iphone according to their records, they want you to have a micro sim, and don't want to sell you a full size one (and vice-versa for people who's records indicate a non-iphone)

          This discussion isn't about micro-sims (which as you point out, can be cut down from full size sims) the discussion is about nano-sims, which there is no reason at current to believe will be able to be cut down

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        so they want to make sure that I'll have to buy a new SIM to use my new phone.

        The move the microsim showed that people will simply grab a set of scissors to adjust the size of the card to suit their phone, and it worked perfectly.

        Anyway what's all the fuss about a sim card? It's the ability for you to use the service you've paid for. Take it out, throw it in the trash, call up your telecom company and tell them to send you another one. Mine did this free of charge when my phone sank tot he bottom of a river with simcard included.

  • They should have skipped micro SIM and go directly from mini to nano SIM.
    The whole point of the SIM card is about not releasing a new form factor every year.

    • Re:Micro SIM (Score:4, Insightful)

      by green1 (322787) on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:52PM (#39477935)

      And the whole point to both the micro and nano SIM standards is to force you to change to a new form factor as often as possible. As long as we have to be able to hold phones in our hands, there is no reason at all not to use full size SIM cards, unless you are trying to prevent people from simply taking the SIM out of their old phone and putting it in a new one....

      • Re:Micro SIM (Score:4, Insightful)

        by quacking duck (607555) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:09PM (#39479101)

        You do realize what a "full size SIM card" [cnet.co.uk] actually is? It's the size of a credit card. The SIM card you're referring to is already called a mini SIM card [wikipedia.org].

        Technology moves forward and miniaturizes. Older stuff becomes incompatible. It's unfortunate the nano format is already being proposed before the micro-SIM is even commonplace aside from Apple gear, but micro-SIMs were standardized in late 2003, almost 9 years ago. It's hardly Apple's fault that no one else wanted to take charge and move the technology ahead. Like USB on the iMac, they're driving and popularizing an existing standard.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't mind micro much, you can cut a mini SIM down to a micro and it'll work fine, but there isn't any room to do that further since a micro SIM is down to the size of the contacts so you can't make it smaller and have the same compatibility. Micro SIMs should be small enough anyway.

      • by reub2000 (705806)

        And TFA says the cards are thinner. You'd have to sand it down too. I guess every picometer counts.

  • that nano means 10^-9
    and this new standard is not 1 billionth of the size of the original SIM

    • ...this new standard is not 1 billionth of the size of the original SIM

      The mathematician in me agrees with you. However, the social and practical side of me says, "MicroSIMs are not 1 millionth the size of the original SIM. And good luck calling a DeciSIM or MilliSIM an upgrade!"

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      You are right - clearly this should be called the megasim!

  • Trap

  • Does anyone get the feeling that this doesn't feel like the Apple we're used to?
    • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Monday March 26, 2012 @03:45PM (#39477869)

      Apple's always been found of royalty free standards and products in markets were they need some minimal presence, but aren't actually competing...

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Does anyone get the feeling that this doesn't feel like the Apple we're used to?

      It's the same Apple, they are just using a new form of bait and switch.

      Apple's released their mini-DisplayPort royalty free, but burred deep down inside the license agreement is an exclusion that voids the license if the licensee "commence an action for patent infringement against Apple".

      I'd be very surprised if Apple hasn't got a similar trap planned for their SIM standard.

      The point of Apple's plethora of patents and

      • by mikael_j (106439)

        Apple's released their mini-DisplayPort royalty free, but burred deep down inside the license agreement is an exclusion that voids the license if the licensee "commence an action for patent infringement against Apple".

        Ever read the license agreements for some other standards (especially single-vendor "standards", which mini-DP is not)? There's some scary stuff in there, the only reason people freak out about Apple in these cases is because it's Apple so some guy with a chip on his shoulder is likely to sit down and look for stuff that could make them look bad.

        Since the transition to OS X Apple has been quite fond of open standards (but considering that a lot of people seem to still think that Apple computers can only han

  • What's the catch? If Apple is giving this up royalty-free, what are they getting out of it?
  • by CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) on Monday March 26, 2012 @04:31PM (#39478325)
    I don't understand it. They are pretty small as is. What's the point of making them smaller?...so they're easier to lose the few times people have to handle them...like when they get a new phone or transfer there SIM for whatever reason?
    • I don't understand it. They are pretty small as is. What's the point of making them smaller?...so they're easier to lose the few times people have to handle them...like when they get a new phone or transfer there SIM for whatever reason?

      The micro-SIM is small, but it's still the largest thing on the iPhone motherboard, larger than the A5 chip. Cut it by 30% and that's enough room to shrink the motherboard for a larger battery or add another chip for more features.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @02:01AM (#39481765) Homepage Journal

    "the principal issues remain the technical superiority of our proposal and that Apple's proposal does not meet the pre-agreed ETSI requirements... Apple's proposal for royalty free licensing seems no more than an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others."

    That last part of it, about devaluing the IP of others looks like Nokia wants the licensing fees for their patents. Apple's no saint, but in this case I'm either with Apple or a third design that belongs to neither of them.

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