Nokia: Apple’s Nano SIM Design Sucks

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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.