Apple is trying to take a little of the sting out of it's proposal for a nano-SIM standard by offering the rest of the industry a royalty-free license for the technology. Apple was among the first to ditch the popular mini-SIM found in the iPhone 3GS for the much smaller micro-SIM found in the iPad and iPhone 4/iPhone 4S, but with component space increasingly at a premium, the nano-SIM aims to make the total package even smaller still by essentially removing everything but the chip. While carriers seem to be on board, Motorola, RIM, Nokia and other vendors have pushed back, partly because they didn't want to be constrained by Apple's inclusion of a SIM card tray in the standard offering.
Now FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller brings word on Apple's latest attempts to win them over.
A perfectly reliable source that I can't disclose has shown me a letter dated March 19, 2012 that a senior Apple lawyer sent to [the European Telecommunications Standards Institute]. The letter addresses the primary concern of critics of the proposal. The FT said that "the Apple-led proposal has caused some concern among its rivals that the US group might eventually own the patents". But Apple's letter has removed this roadblock, if it ever was any, through an unequivocal commitment to grant royalty-free licenses to any Apple patents essential to nano-SIM, provided that Apple's proposal is adopted as a standard and that all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.
Mueller thinks that a) this shows how serious Apple is and how hard they'll be pushing the nano-SIM standard, and b) it will make it harder for other vendors to push back, especially the soon-to-be-Google-owned Motorola due to Google's vocal support for open standards.
iMore previously heard that Apple is also looking into reducing the size of the traditional 30-pin dock connector in iPhones, iPads, and iPods, to save on space inside. As power-hungry parts like Retina displays, LTE radios, and quad-core chipsets become more common, battery capacity needs to grow to support them, and every micro-militer that can be saved inside a device becomes incredibly important. This is especially true for Apple since they've shown no interest in simply making the iPhone larger the way other manufacturers have done with, for example, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to the Nokia Lumia 900.
Carriers reportedly previously shot down an Apple initiative to completely replace the SIM card with a built-in, programmable alternative, since they didn't want to be eliminated from the customer relationship. If all the players agree, this could be the next best alternative.
Source: FOSS Patents