The new iPhone 4 will not be compatible with the current mobile SIM card you have in your phone right now. It will be using a new type of SIM card called 'Micro SIM', which is already used in Apple's iPad. When you buy your new iPhone, you will not need to change number, but will need to transfer the number to your Micro SIM. Also known as 3FF cards (for Ď3rd Form Factorí, as the microSIM follows the original credit card-sized SIM and todayís thumbnail-sized wafer), microSIMs are around half the size of the current SIM card.
|APC: Regular SIM, meet Micro SIM.
Itís hard to argue that the iPad lacks the physical space for a regular SIM card. After all, Apple managed to squeeze one into the iPhone Ė surely thereís room for one in an device thatís almost three times as large?
Itís more likely that the decision to use a microSIM is intended to ensure that iPad owners canít take their unlocked iPad, then grab the best prepaid mobile broadband deal and slide that carrierís SIM card into their tablet.
This may seen odd when all four Australian carriers sell the iPhone, and are thus likely to do the same for the iPad Ė but the US is just one country where Apple has signed an exclusivity deal with a single carrier, in the form of AT&T.
So while the iPad itself is unlocked, early buyers are still locked into AT&T, and specifically to AT&Tís Apple-approved data plans which will be tied to the microSIM cards.
This card was developed by the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) to offer things like more storage space on-chip for provider applications, increased control and security functions - over what, we don't know -- and the new smaller form factor allows it to fit in tiny devices. Frankly, we wouldn't call the iPad "tiny" and we have absolutely no clue what justification Apple had to switch to it other than a desire to be different -- this is the company that pioneered Mini DisplayPort, after all -- but the long and the short of it is that you're going to have a hard time finding a carrier offering Micro SIMs in the short term since the GSMA doesn't appear to be actively spearheading a mass conversion.