Nokia: Apple’s Nano SIM Design Sucks


Despite the promise of royalty-free licensing, Nokia is still against Apple's nano-SIM proposal.
Despite the promise of royalty-free licensing, Nokia is still against Apple's nano-SIM proposal.

Sandwiched between two layers of Gorilla Glass, your iPhone’s innards are a thickly packed tissue of silicon, precious metals, plastic and Li-Ion power cells. Space is at such a premium inside an iPhone that literally every milimeter counts, which is why Apple is always at the forefront of technologies that will make a critical component just a little smaller, a little thinner.

Foremost among these is the venerable SIM card. Apple first managed to reduce the physical footprint of the SIM card with the iPhone 4 with the micro SIM, and now they want to do it again with the nanoSIM.

The only problem? The rest of the industry doesn’t like the nano SIM, and now Nokia is speaking out against it.

According to a statement released by Nokia today, Nokia claims that they have a new SIM design that is superior to Apple’s nano-SIM, in that it follows ETSI 4FF nano-SIM standard requirements.

Unlike Apple’s design, they say, their nano-SIM won’t jam in microSIM ports, nor would it require a tray, making the design smaller than Apple’s. In fact, Nokia says outright they think Apple’s design is inefficient.

We believe that in practice it would mean it was just different from micro SIM, rather than smaller, which could be a barrier to broad adoption as an alternative to micro SIM, potentially leading to fragmentation.

Worse, Apple’s nano-SIM, according to Nokia, would be more expensive for affordable, budget range cellphones than Nokia’s.

What’s all the hub bub? Why can’t Nokia use its own SIM card, and Apple use another? The problem is that if Apple adopts one kind of SIM card, it becomes the default standard, and other companies will have to pay licensing fees if they want to use it. Moreover, it’ll require redesigns to accomodate the nano-SIM tray: Apple pops SIM cards in using a tray, but on most smartphones, they simply click into place under the battery.

Which design is superior? Only the eggheads actually designing phones know for sure, but if I had to bet on anyone knowing what would be the most efficient design, it wouldn’t be Nokia: it’d be Apple.

  • tv_gadget

    Well i use microsims on my iphone so im happy with it..if nokia can make a nano sim its better but dont talk shit about others unlees you have achieved something better.. First try to make a dual core phone then we will see whos techbology is efficient

  • Eric Schneck

    John, you’re missing the point:

    “Why can’t Nokia use its own SIM card, and Apple use another?”

    One of the great advantages of GSM over competing systems is that a Subscriber Identity (Module) can be moved from one phone to another at any time.  So if I drop my phone and it breaks, I can take out the SIM and put it in another phone and off I go.  If I follow your advice and the phone that I dropped was an iPhone and all I have handy in the closet is a Nokia, then I am out of luck.  My “identity” (and my phone nuumber) are tied to that chip.

  • Matt Sevely

    Indeed John, I get your point, still Apple iPhone 4/4S has been using the Micro-Sim for 2 years now and no one is complaining….  If You drop your iPhone, got to your operator/carrier, ask for a replacement SIM (Regular one) pay 5€ and you are good to go to use it with your Whatever backup Phone.

    I think Nokia is just trying to get some attention… As for me.

    Matt: Nokia’s Phone Design, and OS Sucks

  • tv_gadget

     yeah he explained this in the article..

  • crateish

    Nokia… Nokia… Doesn’t ring a bell.

  • imajoebob

    Reminds me of Firewire.  An Apple design that was superior in every way to USB.  And is barely a niche product thanks to Apple’s hubris.

  • joewaylo

    Which one? The Symbian or Windows Phone?

  • volodoscope

    Nokia doesn’t know what to do anymore, so the last thing they can do is lash against Apple. That’s what Microsoft did and still does. Ohh waaaaiiittt…. Microsoft owns Nokia….That’s right. Hmmmmm

  • cienzod

    “Apple first managed to reduce the physical footprint of the SIM card with the iPhone4 with the micro SIM, and now they want to do it again with the nanoSIM.”

    Err, forgive me for saying this as I love Apple design and all that and own a lot of Apple devices, but Apple did NOT come up with the micro SIM, that was the ETSI and that’s who Nokia are backing for the “alternative” nanoSIM.  Apple came up with the tray for the micro SIM on the iPhone4.

    The reason that Nokia is backing the ETSI design, is that these are ALL backwards compatible and will work in ANY GSM compatible phone.  GSM = GLOBAL System for Mobile Communications this is the industry standard.  I’m happy if the industry standard changes, but I own multiple phones and I’d like the SIMs to continue to be interchangeable.  Apple’s design is fundamentally attempting to change this and feels like an attempt to get the industry patent…which I can’t say with the current patent wars going on that I’d be too happy about.

  • Boris Terekidi

    I don’t see Nokia coming up with anything better. All I see them do is come up with “mee too” products and bump up megapixels in their cameras (which is pointless).

  • Vigrestbuen


  • sir1jaguar

    Are you fuckin stupid???

    You was just born yesterday???

    Nokia knows more in smartphone than apple in decades time..

    Apple was just lucky but you remember those 8850 gold edition, those expensive & classic phones…

    I love apple products but saying other companies like nokia in terms of phones technology (hardware wise) that are crap and not innovating are moronic…

    If not for motorola & nokia, our phones now still with wires and no innovation…

  • Shaun Green

    Nokia are starting to get their act together. The Lumia 800 looks really nice. When the 900 comes out later this year with Metro I think they will have a really good phone. I’ve used Nokia phones for many years and have always found them to be easy to use and very reliable and a lot less brittle than my cracked iPhone.

  • Abraham Castillo

    Author said “gorilla glass” in the iphone 4S?. Wait, what?. Last time I checked (
    http://www.corninggorillaglass…, Apple Inc devices were not in the list of products with Gorilla Glass. Drop an iPhone and let’s see what happens to the screen, I dare anyone. 

    I love all the technology around apple, the innovation, the designs, etc… I just don’t love the way the administration of the company works. (patents and stuffs). As Vince Donaldson said: GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, it is a standard and it should be developed as a community.

    Even when I like apple products, I’m not a fanboy, do your research and try other devices, you’ll find some useful products with not fruit stamps on it.

  • AwesomeDuck

    I would not assume Apple can design a better phone network interface than Nokia. Nokia has a long history of making not only phones but the towers and infrastructure. Apple makes better phones, but they rely on parts from many other vendors.
    I don’t see how the size of the SIM is such a big deal. All the patents that cover SIMs and the protocols, key exchanges, etc. are still in effect and do not change just because the physical size of the card changes.
    One thing is for sure…having a bunch of different SIM sizes defeats the purpose of SIMs…being able to move your identity from one phone to another easily.

  • Enginerd

    I read the first sentence and deemed the author ignorant. There is no gorilla glass on an iPhone. I wouldn’t fix so many if they did have Gorilla glass like the new Nokia phones. The iPhone has a single lithium polymer cell, not lithium ion cells.

    I have used both the iPhone and the Lumia 900 and would have to say the Lumia has a faster, more intuitive OS and is more durable. Not to mention it is not manufactured in a plant that needs suicide nets around the outside of th building in order to keep the workers that make the phone from killing themselves.

  • Alexey Kulikov

    The nanosims are awesome. The onle problem though, is that it is a six-contact chip per se… whereas the 2FF and 3FF chips could very well be 8 contact-chips. However it usually is the same and thus allows the production of nanosim adapters ;-)