Some pictures that are purportedly of the new nano-SIM card tray for the iPhone 5 have popped up online, showing a dramatically smaller insert than the previous versions of the SIM card try found in the iPhone 4 and 4S. The new pictures, sourced by Nowhereelse.fr show that the new tray will accommodate a nan-SIM card, a newly approved SIM standard that Apple has been working towards. While the photos are unverified, if genuine, they do indicate that the nano-SIM will be the standard for the iPhone 5.
The nano-SIM cards are approximately 40% smaller than the smallest SIM cards that are currently on the market and can be engineered to be backwards compatible with existing SIM cards through the use of creative adapters. Apple managed to secure approval for the nano-SIM standard around two months ago, against competing proposals from other manufacturers such as RIM, Nokia and Motorola.
The implications of the new nano-SIM in the iPhone 5 obviously relate to the amount of space that the SIM card currently occupies inside the device. Obviously with a much smaller SIM card, there will be more internal space available for other components.
However, from the consumer point of view, this will, in the first instance at least, restrict iPhone 5 users to carriers that will supply the nano-SIM standard. This will not be a problem for the larger carriers, but may cause a small hitch for those users with unlocked iPhones that have been purchased outright and who do not want to use one of the bigger carriers. That said, since the new standard was approved, production of the new standard has likely been ramping up to support other devices.