I just received an iPhone 5 and of course before powering it up, I had to take it apart, at least a little. One thing that has made me curious about the iPad Minis and the new iPhone 5 is Apple’s use of a new, Nano SIM chip. For those unfamiliar, the SIM chip is what contains all your personal cell carrier data, IE which carriers your phone should work on, your phone number and other settings. One major advantage to using SIM chips is that you, the user, could easily remove the chip from one device and use it in another, especially handy if you often switch devices, or have multiple devices. You might also have more than one SIM chip in theory allowing you to use one device with multiple carriers, great for international travelers. Anyway, the Nano SIM represents the fourth generation of the SIM chip, the original first generation roughly being the size of a credit card. Each generation has gotten progressively smaller than the last while retaining the same core form factor. So, this being the fourth generation, you can naturally understand why I was curious about it’s size .. what’s that? You can’t? huh.
I’m not super good at judging sizes, but I’d guess that the Nano SIM is roughly 12.3 mm by 8.8 mm by 0.67 mm. In the interest of fairness, I should mention that these measurements are available from multiple sources, so I’m probably better at using Google than I am at guessing sizes. Anyway, if you’ve ever held the SIM chip contained in the GSM version of the iPhone 4, imagine something even smaller and thinner. If you were to drop both this and a needle in a haystack, I suspect the needle would be the easier of the two to find.
As one of those who actually does remember the first generation credit card sized SIM, it’s kind of amazing to me to see just how much smaller this generation has become. Another neat thing — I think it’s neat anyway — is that by using a cutter, or a razor blade, you can actually cut a previous generation SIM down to Nano SIM size and assuming you don’t cut the gold contacts or your finger off, it’ll actually work. This could come in incredibly handy if your particular carrier doesn’t offer nano SIM chips or, if you just like playing with razor blades.
What’s that? You want to learn more about SIM chips? as mentioned above, there are lots of great, dare I say interesting resources on the net such as this one. Isn’t technology great?