Apple Taking Steps to Make Next iPhone Smaller, Thinner


Image courtesy of starzinger on Flickr
Image courtesy of starzinger on Flickr


While many recent reports have predicted the next iPhone will feature the same design as the iPhone 4, Stephane Richard, CEO for France Telecom, revealed in a recent interview that Apple is currently taking steps to ensure the fifth-generation device is smaller and thinner than its predecessor.

One of the steps Apple is taking to ensure a thinner device is to make SIM cards even smaller than it already has, Richard said in an interview with All Things D. While the company wanted to eradicate SIM cards altogether and implement ‘e-SIMs’ embedded within the device, carriers convinced Apple that this was impractical:

“All of us told [Apple] it was a bad idea because the SIM card is a critical piece of the security and authentication process. It would be very difficult for a telco or carrier to manage the customer relationship. I think that they understood this point. We had a very constructive exchange and dialogue with them.”

The e-SIM Apple was initially planning for the iPhone would have potentially seen the traditional SIM card thrown onto the same pile of Apple-annihiliated tech on which the floppy disk currently resides. Rather than a physical SIM card that can be removed from a device, an e-SIM is embedded within it and features an upgradable flash component that can be programmed as necessary.

While this might seem like the way forward to you and I, European carriers weren’t so keen on the idea, according to AppleInsider, and threatened to eliminate subsidies for the iPhone if Apple was to take the e-SIM further.

To keep the carriers happy, Apple agreed on a compromise and instead set about making the SIM card even smaller than the already micro micro-SIM, and submitted it last week to the European Telecommunications Standard Institute. This micro-micro-SIM (as I shall call it) is one of the things that will pave the way for a smaller, thinner iPhone 5 (or 4S), according to Richard:

“We are going to work with them in order to standardize a new format of SIM which takes into account our needs with security and authentication and also is compatible with their wishes in terms of size.”

“I understood that the next iPhone would be smaller and thinner and they are definitely seeking some space.”

France Telecom is the second-highest network of iPhones in terms of traffic – behind AT&T – and sells the device in 15 countries under the Orange brand.

It’s routine practice that during the months that precede the launch of the fifth-generation iPhone, rumors surrounding the device will be rife. While the CEO of France Telecom believes the next device will be smaller and thinner, conflicting reports say it will boast a design identical to the iPhone 4.