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Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 11:45 pm PT (02:45 am ET)

Apple-revised nano-SIM design to address Nokia objections ahead of standards vote

SIM card maker Giesecke & Devrient is showing off Apple's new nano-SIM design, which has been modified to resolve Nokia's objections to it, at the CTIA tradeshow in New Orleans, La.

Handset makers have been lobbying for their preferred fourth form factor (4FF) SIM card standards as a vote by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute nears. The ETSI was scheduled to decide on the standard in March, but it postponed the vote because of continued disagreement between Apple and Nokia.

Nokia voiced strong objection to Apple's proposed nano-SIM design, accusing it of not meeting the ETSI's requirements. The Finnish company claimed the design violates a "no jamming" rule because its length is too similar to the width of current-generation micro-SIMs.

Apple now appears to have responded by slightly adjusting the dimensions of its proposed nano-SIM. The Verge viewed the new design at G&D's booth at the CTIA wireless show.

"A small amount of plastic has been added around the edges of the electrical contacts, making the new nano-SIM just long enough so that it can't be forced lengthwise into an incompatible socket," the report read.

Apple's nano-SIM design

Apple's revised nano-SIM design | Source: The Verge


As a voting member of the ETSI, G&D declined to say whether it is backing Apple's design and instead told the publication, "We work with everybody."

G&D did hint, however, that Apple is likely to quickly implement the new standard if it is ratified. "We'll see a product very soon after ratification," the company was reported as saying. As such, The Verge noted that it's a "very safe bet" that the 2013 iPhone will feature Apple's nano-SIM design if the vote goes in the company's favor.

Apple has promised to grant royalty-free licenses for any of its patents related to the standard if its design is chosen and competitors reciprocate with their own standards-essential IP. However, Nokia has dismissed the gesture as "no more than an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others" because it doesn't believe Apple holds any patents essential to the proposal.

In light of its objections, Nokia has said it will not license its own patents for Apple's proposal if it is selected. It's not yet clear whether the small changes Apple has made to its nano-SIM design will appease Nokia.