Apple’s SIM connector patent explained and why it matters for Nano SIM

By , Apr 6, 2012

As Apple fights rivals Nokia, Motorola and Research In Motion for the upcoming Nano SIM card standard, a new patent filing indicates the company is thinking beyond smartphones. The iPhone maker already holds an important Nano SIM patent and now we’ve learned they’re researching a universal SIM card connector solution.

Yes, it would require a “drawer” and devices would need to be engineered with this in mind, but the benefits offset engineering hassles. Apple’s SIM card connector solution could let you transfer a SIM card from one device to another. Plus, it is reliable and resistant to damage by an improper insertion of a SIM card.

It even works with Integrated Circuit Card found in credit cards, broadening potential uses to e-commerce applications. And if this patent filing is an indication, Apple’s universal SIM connector could be coming to a MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple television near you…

Patently Apple observes:

The ability to transfer a SIM from one device to another is perhaps one of the advantages to Apple’s design and why the ETSI is strongly considering it as a standard. In the era of mobility and device interconnectivity, Apple’s solution may be the winner.

The benefits of Apple’s solution include easy removal of a SIM card, resistance to damage by an improper insertion of a SIM card and reliable mechanical performance.

A patent application filed with the United States Patents & Trademark Office (USPTO) describes a “plunger system” where a user can push a plunger rod and eject a SIM card. Reinserting the card is a simple matter of pushing the card into the connector.

Resistance to damage could be achieved with internal contacts arranged in such a way that they have a low profile, which would protect the contacts from damage due to an improper insertion of a SIM card.

Apple’s filing envisions uses of the SIM connector beyond smartphones. The document mentions tablet computers, laptops, media players and even displays (think iTV) as benefiting from this invention.

The most interesting aspect is the SIM card itself.

According to Apple, the SIM connector could work with Micro SIM as well as Mini SIM, provided the latter is inserted in a mini SIM card tray. More importantly, the SIM connector would work with the upcoming Nano SIM and even Integrated Circuit Card (ICC) used, for example, in Visa credit cards.

The publication explains:

Apple’s mystery inclusion of “other type of card” in this application could be demystified by their latest granted patent which discusses the use of an Integrated Circuit Card (ICC) in connection with a SIM Tray. An ICC is what is used in Visa credit cards, for example. This translates to ICC’s being integrated into an iPhone or other mobile device via a mini-tray system for the purposes of ecommerce. This was covered in our report titled “Apple Wins Patent Relating to Nano SIM and iWallet Chip.” This is a huge advantage in Apple’s SIM strategy and one that could be helpful to the entire industry. This is likely why Apple’s SIM card standard is being considered by the ETSI.

Summing up, no wonder Apple crossed swords with Nokia over the Nano SIM standard. Obviously, there’s more to the Apple-backed Nano SIM variant than meets the eye.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute will vote on Nano SIM in about 30 days.

Apple on its part promised to offer own Nano SIM solution to industry players on a royalty-free basis. The opposing camp did not make such a commitment.

It is now becoming obvious why exactly RIM has resorted to name calling and why Nokia is threatening not to license essential SIM-related patents should Apple prevail.

See, there’s nothing stopping Nokia from extracting license fees from competitors in case their Nano SIM proposal wins. Yes, it all comes down to patents and money – at least for Nokia, RIM and Motorola.

Not bad for a tiny SIM card.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Apple’s SIM connector patent down in the comments.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/hazwan.haron Hazwan Haron

    How to Fix Can’t make call or end call on iphone 4 ? I have an iPhone 4 which was purchased as a factory unlocked phone in Thailand. I am using it in Thailand and When I try to call the phone stays on the calling screen but never connects.

    The other iPhone I’m calling answers and acts like it is connected because the time of call is running but the problem iPhone does not do that. It still says it’s “calling mobile.” The phone isn’t “frozen” because I can hit the home button and go do anything else on the phone. If I click on the phone button it still says its trying to connect, If I press end call, nothing happens. The button is greyed out and nothing changes on the screen. Again, it’s not “frozen” because I can press the home button and go do anything else.

    • http://twitter.com/2morebatteries AAAA

      This is not a technical support thread. It’s irrelevant to this article.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sanil.chitrakar Sanil Chitrakar

      There is no permanent solution for this. To solve this temporarily you can do any of this solution.
      1)turn on your edge or 3g for few seconds and turn off.
      2) reset all settings.
      3)restore.
      Before i used to restore but it takes lot of time and that problem happens again sooner or later. That’s why these days i just do the no. 1 solution that i said above.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hazwan.haron Hazwan Haron

    1. I can not send an SMS.

    2. I can receive an SMS but it doesn’t notify me.

    3. The micro SIM I’m using is ok because I’ve tested it in another iPhone. If I put another phone’s micro SIM into this problematic iPhone, the same problem persists.

    4. I have tried powering down and starting back up. When I dial a number, the same problem continues.

    5. I backed up the iPhone and did a “restore from backup” but the problem continued.

    6. I “reset network settings” and the problem continued.

    7. I don’t know if anything was done differently or that any settings were changed when it started.

    8. I have full signal strength from my carrier AIS.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001920981564 Moo Oat

      Try to restore again but this time choose ” set up as new iPhone “

    • http://www.facebook.com/Matthew.Alner DrunkenTramp

      If you can recive but not send and you have ruled out the sim by trying it in another handset. then I’d take a look at your SMSC I don’t know what yours should be but it’s nothing a google wouldn’t enlighten you of, as for checking / entering a new SMSC

      Step 1: Checking what number is set as your SMS service centre number
      Launch your iPhone keypad and type *#5005*7672# and Press Call/OK
      You will get a response that tells you the number that has been set as your SMS service Centre number.

      Step 2: Setting the correct the SMS service centre number
      On your iPhone keypad, type **5005*7672*+xxxxxxxxxx# Press Call/OK (replace the xxxxxxxxxxx with your networks SMSC)
      You should get a response telling you the number has been set. later there is a notice stating that the smsc successfully changed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hazwan.haron Hazwan Haron

    this happen today.. dont know why… and now.. restore back… n itunes say to update 5.1… :'(

    • http://www.facebook.com/sanil.chitrakar Sanil Chitrakar

      Dont upgrade. Just turn on your cellular data for few seconds and turn it off.

    • http://twitter.com/MattGregg97 Matt ッ

      Save your SHSH Blobs using iFaith or TinyUmbrella, and create a custom IPSW. Then restore to that (Shift/Option + Restore), and you won’t have to upgrade to 5.1

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    I like the idea of integrating the Credit Card chip in with the phone – hopefully this will better enable secure and safe e-commerce both online with your mobile as well at retail locations.

  • Anonymous

    Removable cards are obsolete already. A software solution would easily replace the need for SIMs if carriers would allow it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hazwan.haron Hazwan Haron

    i’m using iphone4s.. sorry… not iphone 4.. any solution?