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Apple Offers Nano-SIM Design Royalty-Free

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the there-can-be-peace-in-our-time dept.

Wireless Networking 113

judgecorp writes "Apple is reportedly offering its nano-SIM design free of royalties, hoping to swing the standards decision its way, for the next generation of even tinier SIM cards for phones and tablets." Nokia has reportedly responded that they still prefer their own design.

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Royalty free? (1)

kjc197 (235890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477209)

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

Re:Royalty free? (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Royalty free? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477267)

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:Royalty free? (3, Funny)

Quartus486 (935104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477269)

But it's rectangular! We all know Apple invented that. Ask Sam Sung if you don't believe me.

Re:Royalty free? (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477353)

It has to be a rounded rectangle to be an Apple original. No sharp users, no sharp corners.

Perfect fit....

Slashdot has been rounded for how long? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480763)

No sharp users, no sharp corners.

Look at the upper left corner of the title of your own comment.

Re:Royalty free? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479255)

It's not just this Sam person, there's a whole legion of assholes here on Slashdot who will loudly insist that Apple invented the rounded-corner rectangle, and that everyone else should use other shapes like triangles for their devices.

Re:Royalty free? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477273)

Re:Royalty free? (1)

kjc197 (235890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477461)

Very unlikely that this link is a picture of a nano sim. It looks exactly like a semiconductor, probably some kind of micro or SoC. Too small to handle, and no obvious contacts.

Re:Royalty free? (1)

bluescrn (2120492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477495)

Looks quite SIM-like to me - contacts seem clearly visible - the surface of it looks like ~90% copper contacts? Definitely not very practical to handle. Micro SIMs are small enough really - do we need to go any smaller?

Re:Royalty free? (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477839)

You do to fit it in this phone [flickr.com]

Re:Royalty free? (1)

Formalin (1945560) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478437)

Looks like a silicon die to me. The photo is probably showing how much silicon is in an actual SIM, nothing more.

Re:Royalty free? (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478671)

It seems to be mostly contact, it really does look like a SIM to me. The little bump in the middle might be a discrete component. The die is probably the middle of the sandwich, not visible in the photo.

We're going to need a vacumm pick-up tool to put these in.

Re:Royalty free? (1)

bluescrn (2120492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477325)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477475)

That must be why they give them away for free when you bring in one that's not working...

Re:Royalty free? (3, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Royalty free? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478313)

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:Royalty free? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39478899)

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 narrower unless the size of the SIM socket is reduced.

(Now, you might also say the A5 chip would have to be narrower, and that's probably true, but the thing is -- Apple controls the A5's package design. If they want to make it more rectangular, they can. And reducing the size of a SIM card in both X and Y dimensions would give them room to do that.)

I'll also tell you another thing with a straight face: even if you were right about SIM card size being meaningless on its own, you'd still be an idiot. Nobody tries to improve battery capacity by addressing just one issue. They're constantly trying to miniaturize everything. If every component's size is cut, it adds up to something real in the end (especially size changes which allow more flexibility in how to arrange other components).

SIM cards are getting attention because their size is relatively low-hanging fruit. Most of the volume of a SIM card has always been packaging and the connector contacts. The active circuitry is very small (it's just a low capacity serial EEPROM chip). 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).

Re:Royalty free? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480709)

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

Re:Royalty free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479493)

There will always be a need to make things smaller, faster, longer lasting.

Never, ever say that again.

It is probably more advance than any Apollo... (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478275)

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

Re:It is probably more advance than any Apollo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39478429)

The process of trimming the plastic bits off the already-existing SIM card design is certainly not more advanced than the Apollo programme, which is what the GP was talking about.

Apple fragmenting the market (0)

MasterMan (2603851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477223)

But they won't win it. Nokia is still the largest mobile phone manufacturer on planet. There are billions of Nokia phones in Asia. Apple is trying to mess up with everyone, however, in this case they won't succeed because of their low overall market share.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477341)

Explain how offering a solution royalty free is fragmenting the market? Its a SIM CARD. Whichever design is picked everyone is going to have to go with anyway because its a standard. Apple simply submitted a version it feels is better for the standard and Nokia wants to use its version which THEY feel is better. One of Nokia's few arguments was that they would have to pay Apple and Apple countered by saying no, you dont, its going to be free.

By saying they are trying to fragment the market, you kinda prove you dont actually know what that term means.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478333)

I would think the biggest question here is, has Nokia also offered its patents on its design royalty free.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479755)

Apple submitted this because it can help its overall goal of trolling competition. Its solution is a bit more expensive to implement (due to requiring a sleigh of sorts while Nokia's design doesn't), which means a slight price increase in manufacturing process of phones.

Alone this won't matter. When you do this kind of trolling for many factors, it starts to matter a lot in the world where phones cost single digits or low double digits to produce. Which incidentally is where Nokia's, Samsung's and many of the upcoming Chinese offerings get a lot of revenue from, but where Apple isn't present.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (3, Insightful)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477397)

They're not just trying to mess with everyone; the article also states "It [Apple] also asks that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity." It seems to me that Apple wants access to patents that at least one of the other players has control of, and Apple is using this 'offer' to get free licensing, with the threat of trying to kick over the sand castle if they don't get what they want.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477571)

Since the standard isn't in place yet, what 'sand castle' would they kick over? There are a few competing for the standard, but none chosen yet, meaning no castle to kick over. As far as TFA's mention of reciprocity, I read that as an assumption that whatever tech ended up being wrapped around the sim, whether Apple's or some other design, and the associated patents, should be offered royalty free as Apple is offering.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477651)

First, it is often an attribute of FRAND terms. Otherwise standards could not exist if a company offered their patented technology free but could get sued if they used other technology in it. Like in SDRAM, all the players agree to FRAND terms so that memory you get from one manufacturer should work with memory from another manufacturer.

Second, what "threat" are you talking about? This is a proposal for a new standard. If ETSI does not like anything in the design, they can tell Apple they are not accepting their proposal. Just a few days ago, everyone here was predicting Apple would leverage their proposal to get more in licensing money. Apple says that they will offer it royalty free and suddenly Apple has dark motives and is personified as a bully.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

SolemnLord (775377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477671)

"It [Apple] also asks that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity."

I don't read that as Apple asking the other tech companies to free up their licenses (lord knows Apple won't open up theirs), but asking the other patent holders on the nanoSIM design to do the same. Basically: "we're not making a dime in order to push this through, guys, you should be doing the same." Just because Apple is the designer doesn't mean they're the sole patent-holder.

They could be, but this is mobile phone technology we're talking about. For every one concept there's at least eight patent holders.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (0)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477713)

Well makes sense, Apple is a late player, they have virtually no patents on traditional cellular functionality,like a SIM.

They are just in it for themselves.... again!

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477811)

Yeah how selfish of them to give it away royalty-free. Bastards are totally only in it for themselves'

Apple has a huge LTE patent portfolio... (4, Informative)

Brannon (221550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477875)

acquired from Nortel for $4.5 Billion, so I'm not sure what you are talking about when you say that Apple has no patents on traditional cellular functionality.

Also, they are offering their patents in this case royalty-free, so I'm not sure what there is here to hang them by.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477933)

Apple may be in it for themselves but not the for the reason you are thinking. By accepting Apple's proposal as a standard, Apple does not automatically gain other patents. Apple buys patent protection if they manufacture the cards but don't get any protection in any way. All asking is saying is that if their proposal contains other SIM patents from other companies, they should also offer theirs royalty-free. The main threat to other companies is that they get no money from nano-SIM if Apple's design is accepted. Apple with their cash hoard does not need the money but other companies are not so financially solid.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481049)

Apple may be in it for themselves but not the for the reason you are thinking. By accepting Apple's proposal as a standard, Apple does not automatically gain other patents. Apple buys patent protection if they manufacture the cards but don't get any protection in any way. All asking is saying is that if their proposal contains other SIM patents from other companies, they should also offer theirs royalty-free. The main threat to other companies is that they get no money from nano-SIM if Apple's design is accepted. Apple with their cash hoard does not need the money but other companies are not so financially solid.

What Apple wants is hand at the neck of the throats of other companies.

The Mini-Dport license is royalty free but has an express provision that voids the license if the licensee were to "commence an action for patent infringement against Apple". So sue-happy Apple gets to hold this over other companies, as a result no-one has taken up mini-dport.

It would not surprise me in the least if Apple has similar retroactive terms in their SIM licenses.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (0)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481201)

What Apple wants is hand at the neck of the throats of other companies. The Mini-Dport license is royalty free but has an express provision that voids the license if the licensee were to "commence an action for patent infringement against Apple". So sue-happy Apple gets to hold this over other companies, as a result no-one has taken up mini-dport.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_DisplayPort [wikipedia.org] It is also used in new PC notebooks from various manufacturers such as Lenovo, Toshiba, HP and Dell.
On 7 January 2010, Toshiba introduced Satellite Pro S500, Tecra M11, A11 and S11 notebooks featuring Mini DisplayPort.[10][11][12][13]
AMD released a special variant of its Radeon HD 5870 graphics card - called the Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition, which features 2GB GDDR5 memory, higher clock speeds than the original card, and six Mini DisplayPort outputs with a maximum resolution of 5760 × 2160 pixels (a 3×2 grid of 1080p displays).
On 5 May 2010, HP announced Envy 14 and Envy 17 notebooks with Mini DisplayPort.[15]
On 20 October 2010, Dell announced XPS 14, 15, and 17 notebooks with Mini DisplayPort.[16]
On 17 May 2011, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad X1 notebook with Mini DisplayPort.

More proof that Apple haters have Reality Destruction Fields. Which obviously rot their brain.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39481827)

Not to get in the middle of your extremely gay fanboi bitch-fight, but the legal terrain of the PC world is entirely different. Apple owns a shitload of PC-related patents which they have never enforced, but in the mobile space it's global thermonuclear war. So you can bet that Samsung may have a different take on things than say Dell.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481713)

Wow, someone needs to get laid...

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478311)

There's just one problem with what you said: that's not how licenses work. They're offering a license for royalty-free use of their nano-SIM design, and are asking that other companies holding relevant patents do the same. Just because those patents would be licensed for use in the nano-SIM does not mean that they would be licensed for any application whatsoever.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477411)

Apple is submitting their design to be a standard . If Apple wins or loses, there still will be a new standard. As such, please explain how Apple will fragment the market or how current marketshare in Asia affects how a European standards body will decide the merits of a standard in future smart phones.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477853)

You really need it to be explained how a new standard can fragment a market?

Quick question, is there currently a standard for SIM cards? If so, then Apple, and Nokia to be fair, introducing a new standard now gives manufacturers multiple standards to base off of. This leads to a possibility of market fragmentation. If only some adopt the new standard, we now have the realization of fragmentation in the market.

The question everyone should be asking is, is there a reason for the nano-sim standard in the first place? Myself, I say no, as current generation sims are already so small, that I see no gain of any kind into creating a smaller package. There would have to be some convincing arguments for new functionality for me to justify creation of this new standard in the first place. There's an obligatory XKCD illustrating the point of more standards, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (5, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478707)

Apple's proposal is a smaller form factor, but it's electrically compatible with existing SIM (it can be inserted into a physical adapter containing no electronics and work with devices designed for micro, or mini SIM cards), making it backward compatible. It doesn't fragment the market any more than micro or mini SIM does.

The Nokia proprosal has changes to technical specs, it would actually create a new, (non-compatible???) standard.

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478789)

Please note that the "Nokia" standard mentioned here is the Micro SIM. Most famous for being used in iPhone4 and iPads...

Re:Apple fragmenting the market (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479035)

What are describe as a new standard in xkcd is a completely different situation that this in that a new, incompatible standard is introduced in addition to the current one. This is not the HD-DVD/BluRay situation. This is more like the BluRay-DVD situation where the new generation is backward compatible but the older generation is not forwards compatible. This happens all the time as progress occurs.

As to answer your second question, the race to become smaller is one way to advance. More powerful, more efficient, more capable are some of the other ways. The manufacturers want more space. Reducing the SIM is one thing to do. Otherwise would you like your phone to weigh more/get larger as the manufacturers cram in more capability?

Nokia wants their own SIM? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477243)

I guess their standard will be the MicroSoft-SIM

Why (2, Interesting)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477289)

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

Re:Why (2)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477383)

And the alternative is? I like the idea of being able to switch networks and numbers without having to switch phones.

Re:Why (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477507)

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.

Re:Why (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477827)

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 (4, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479393)

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 standardization (but again, consumer demand had to drive it, otherwise they could have standardized on SIM-less technology), the old SIM-less scheme just didn't work out.

Re:Why (2)

kqs (1038910) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480745)

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.

Re:Why (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481053)

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 to satisfy all markets (which means complying with all the regulations in Europe), rather than paying extra to have them make a special version just for them.

I just signed up with T-mobile; IIRC, they'll unlock your phone after 90 days, or if you tell them that you're going overseas for vacation and would like it unlocked so you can get a SIM card from a local carrier in the foreign country. T-mobile seems like the nicest of the big 4 carriers in the US, so I'm happy to support them rather than Verizon or AT&T.

Re:Why (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39479433)

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.

Here is what surprised me. (1)

bartoku (922448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481027)

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 cross carriers. What is stopping them?
I can understand carriers locking their phones or excluding frequency bands to deter you from taking them to another carrier.
But I am not convinced that Verizon/Sprint decided it wanted to force you to use a Verizon/Sprint phone instead of luring you over to their network without the extra cost of a new phone.
I suspect Verizon CDMA phones just are not setup to connect to Sprint CDMA towers, just like the Droid 2 Global is carrier blocked in the firmware.
Sprint/Verizon probably do not want to mess with trying to flash competitors firmware to their own network.
If CDMA authentication is anything like GSM authentication, then Sprint needs to have some info that only Verizon has about the keys in the Verizon phone and vice versa.
However, I have heard of some of the smaller CDMA carriers activating Verizon phones on their networks, but I always suspect it was because they were just reselling connections to Verizon towers anyway.

If the carrier got in league with each other, then why did T-Mobile and AT&T not get in on it?
My understanding is that GSM networks could use IMEI white lists just the same as CDMA networks use ESN white lists.
Of course SIM card locking and excluding frequencies is fairly effective. But why not go a step further like the Droid 2 Global and exclude specific carriers?
Perhaps AT&T is just not as evil as Verizon?

Re:Why (3, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477655)

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.

Re:Why (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478281)

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.

Re:Why (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481177)

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 (5, Interesting)

ewieling (90662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477391)

That is not my question. My question is Why the fuck don't all phones use SIM cards?

Re:Why (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39478573)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477399)

Steve Jobs tried to kill it. He failed.

Re:Why (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#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).

Re:Why (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477729)

"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 politics, but on this case made by the telcos not the manufacturers, SIM cards can also be cloned for the matter. But rest assure, right now apple as the power to make the noSIM a standard, you have telcos that sacrificed their first born for the iphone.

Re:Why (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478691)

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 (for easier future moves to a new phone) or burn it (ensuring that the account can only be migrated by someone with physical access to the customer's phone).

Heck, you could make the bar codes be one-time use. When the phone connects to the server for the first time using key pair A, it receives a new public-private key pair B from the server and uses that for future conversations with the cell network, after which key pair A is no longer functional.

Then, when you want to migrate to a new phone, the old phone could display a copy of a barcode with its current key pair (B) and unregister that key pair from the cell network, thus preventing it from being used in any way other than to register a new phone. At that point, the new phone could read pair B, register with the cell network, and obtain a new pair C for its ongoing use.

And as is the case now, if you call customer service, they could always migrate a dead phone by unregistering it and emailing you its barcode directly.

Re:Why (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479001)

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.

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477795)

For the same reason we still use CDs and SD Variants; everything else uses it, so there's clear downsides to not using it (increased cost of deployment due to lacking economy of scale, reduced compatibility, lower perceived value due to inability to transfer the handset to other networks), and no clear advantages to using a new format except 'less plastic'.

Can someone explain this to me? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477313)

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?

Re:Can someone explain this to me? (3, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Can someone explain this to me? (1)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478571)

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.

Re:Can someone explain this to me? (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479193)

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 from full size, or micro sims.

Re:Can someone explain this to me? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39478979)

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.

You haven't the faintest clue what you're talking about. Here's the iPhone 4S motherboard:

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

That metal frame where you can see gold contacts through the holes is the microSIM socket. Notice how it's the largest thing on the motherboard, and there is absolutely not a chance you could squeeze in a full size SIM socket? If you look at pictures of the board in context, making the board wider would force a reduction in battery size.

SIM cards are hugely wasteful of internal space. Efforts to reduce their size are not signs of a conspiracy between carriers and cell phone makers to render your 10 year old SIM cards worthless.

Re:Can someone explain this to me? (2, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479163)

Funny how every other phone manufacturer on the planet has been able to fit full size SIM cards in their phones, phones which are often no larger, and no less capable than the iPhone. If I don't know what I'm talking about, than neither to the engineers at every other cell phone company, the ones who have accidentally done something that you said there is no chance at all of doing.

Re:Can someone explain this to me? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481193)

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.

Micro SIM (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477455)

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 (3, Insightful)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Micro SIM (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39478293)

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.

Re:Micro SIM (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39480809)

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

Typical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477505)

Typical Apple, refusing to use the standard unless it's theirs.

Can somebody please tell the marketing dept (1, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477521)

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

Re:Can somebody please tell the marketing dept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39477855)

mini has been used, as has micro. If SIM lasts, we'll see pico next.

Re:Can somebody please tell the marketing dept (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39478361)

Well, at least Apple got it right when it came to naming iPods.

Re:Can somebody please tell the marketing dept (1)

Garth Smith (1720052) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478375)

...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!"

Re:Can somebody please tell the marketing dept (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478995)

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

Isa (0)

future assassin (639396) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477789)

Trap

Royalty Free? Apple? (2)

trparky (846769) | more than 2 years ago | (#39477819)

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

Re:Royalty Free? Apple? (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:Royalty Free? Apple? (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481063)

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 multitude law suits against their competitors was never money, they get enough of that from the suckers who pay for their products. The point was to stop competitors from being able to compete.

Re:Royalty Free? Apple? (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481633)

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 handle a single mouse button I'm not surprised the myth of the locked-down proprietary protocols and other tech of the Apple walled garden thrives).

Ok, so... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478181)

What's the catch? If Apple is giving this up royalty-free, what are they getting out of it?

Re:Ok, so... (3, Funny)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39478253)

What they think is a better standard.

Re:Ok, so... (1)

fredan (54788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479079)

quiet easy. probably the same as with their displayport. you can not sue apple if using it.

Re:Ok, so... (3, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479333)

A better standard that works for them.

It's not the first time they've done this - they did it with Mini-Displayport too, and now you see those all over the place, and it works for Apple because they really like small and simple connectors.

Why do they have to be smaller? (2, Insightful)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

Re:Why do they have to be smaller? (2)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39479067)

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.

I might actually side with Apple this time. (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#39481765)

"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.

NanoSIMS already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39481833)

http://www.imago.com/instruments-for-research/nanosims.aspx

I work with one.

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