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Apple pushing new industry standard for even smaller SIM cards

Apple is said to have proposed a new standardized SIM card even smaller than the current micro-SIM used in the iPhone 4, potentially allowing for even thinner devices.

An executive with European wireless carrier Orange shared the details on Tuesday with Reuters. Anne Bouverot, Orange's head of mobile services, said the carrier supports Apple's proposed standard.

"We were quite happy to see last week that Apple has submitted a new requirement to (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) for a smaller SIM form factor — smaller than the one that goes in iPhone 4 and iPad," she reportedly said at the Global Technology Summit in Paris.

Apple has apparently pursued the new standard with the backing of "some major mobile operators," including Orange. It was not revealed what other companies are supporting Apple's proposal.

Micro-SIM cards were first adopted by Apple last year in the first-generation iPad. Later in 2010, the iPhone 4 also utilized the new, smaller Micro-SIM card.

Late last year, it was said that Apple was developing its own open embedded SIM card that would work with multiple carriers. That change would have allegedly allowed customers to shop for mobile service directly from an Apple Store, eliminating the need for users to work with the carriers.

But Apple was said to have abandoned those plans after carriers in Europe allegedly threatened to cut subsidies. Mobile operators reportedly accused Apple of trying to wrest control of customers away from the carriers.

While the embedded SIM plan allegedly fell apart with strong opposition from carriers, Apple is apparently taking a more partnership-driven approach with its new proposal — and carrier backing — for a smaller, standardized SIM card.