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.

  • donfelipe

    The iPhone 5 will have a bigger screen and that is what we all want. I hope they make it as big as the iPad.

  • Unis Zuurmond

    I think in this case “next” refers to iPhone 6. The one to follow the “current one” which will be released this year.

  • Robin B.P.

    last para: ‘rumours that precede…’  it should read. but other than that, cool! i for one am enjoying watching all the new speculation. especially since i am in the market for a new iphone!

  • KillianBell

    Thank you for your comment. Typo amended.

  • Robin B.P.

    sorry: ‘months that precede’ (argh my monday (tuesday) morning head)! 

  • Michael Rygaard

    TBH I dont think we will see any huge changes on any apple phone in 2011. (sadly – since I want thinner lighter, no antenna problems(witch I have many many times a day) I want NFC, I want gestures on the back side, I want even better battery life, I want edge to edge.. I  simply WANT :) )

  • DrM47145

    Say what you want about the rumored new specs of the iP5, but as for the supposed edge-to-edge screen… I just feel it looks awfully awkward.

  • Travis

    Agreed.  I also feel an edge-to-edge screen would make the phone in a case (a requirement due to iPhone’s delicate nature), unusable.  My finger already has trouble working towards the edges in a fairly slim case.

  • Mike Rathjen

    iPhone 4 is thin enough. Perfect size really. If Apple can make it thinner, I’d prefer they just increase the battery size instead.

  • CharliK

    ““All of us told [Apple] it was a bad idea because the SIM card is a critical piece of the security and authentication process.”

    Translation. “We don’t want to have to change our software. And we want to be able to continue to charge folks for new sim cards when they want to join our service”

    Just wait. Apple will reach a point where they want what they want and the carriers will have to compile or lose the iphone. And then see how fast they think this is a marvelous idea

  • CharliK

    Haven’t you heard. They aren’t releasing one this year. 

    My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who heard it an ATT store last week. So of course it must be true. 

  • Roby

    Much rather have it larger and more grippable, with bigger battery, bigger camera lens and sensor,  and even, gasp!, slide out keypad or integrated flip cover (or dual screen)!

  • Carlos Rincon Eckardt

    Can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next… the iPhone 4 is already a grand achievement over the earlier models so they pretty much have their work cut up for them!