Apple’s fifth generation iPhone will most likely stick with the microSIM-style card used in the iPhone 4 and iPad instead of moving to embedded SIMs, according to the Financial Times. The new programmable SIM card format was recently approved, and Apple had been rumored to be considering switching to the new technology.
Word that Apple won’t be using embedded SIMs in the iPhone 5 comes as good news to Europe’s cell service providers who had been threatening to stop paying subsidies for iPhone sales if the company started using the new cards. Embedded SIMs, they argued, would let Apple step between carriers and customers — a move service providers don’t like.
Since the embedded SIM cards are programmable, they could potentially let customers buy a phone, and then choose their service provider after the purchase. The cards could also lead to customers demanding shorter contracts, breaking the forced two-year commitment cycle they currently deal with.
Just because Apple most likely won’t use embedded SIMs in the next generation iPhone, however, doesn’t mean the company is abandoning the technology. Instead, Apple could be waiting until 2012 when embedded SIM standards are in place.