Meet the iPad’s Micro SIM

The Apple iPad isn’t even out yet, but already thousands of words have been written about its influence on hardware, media, computing and even ergonomics. It has a new chip, a new contract-free pricing plan from AT&T and a new SIM in order to get onto the carrier network. Since I was curious about the new micro SIM format, I visited the offices of Gemalto, which sold about 1 billion SIM cards last year, to learn more about it.

Ray Wizbowski, a marketing director with Gemalto, showed off the micro SIM format for me and explained how it contains exactly the same hardware as a traditional SIM card, just in a smaller plastic casing. Theoretically you could cut your existing SIM down to size, although your contacts would have to match up. Wizbowski says the smaller casing makes room for more hardware inside a device like the iPad, but it also provides a smaller platform (52 percent smaller) for carrier advertising. Did Apple go smaller in order to cram in more functionality or to marginalize AT&T?

As far as the current use of micro SIMs, there’s a company called Loc8 Solutions that uses a micro SIM keyed for tracking children, and Wizbowski says they might also be used in cell phone wrist watches or cameras connected to a wireless network. The SIM is based on a standard so other companies can make them as well. For more on micro SIMS and machine-to-machine connectivity, check out the video below.

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