Remember when Apple was all like "yeah, SIM cards take up too much room, there's not enough space for all of our astonishing and magical technology!" and so it started shoving Micro SIM in our face? Well, that didn't last long. Apple has proposed a new, smaller SIM standard to the European Telecoms Standards Body (the same guys who figured out the Micro SIM), and even has Orange signed up to help push the spec. Devices with the new ultra-mini-micro-SIM (something like that) should start shipping next year, according to Orange. And sure, while we're going to grumble about it at every given opportunity, we bet we'll feel real silly around this time next year when our phones suddenly get 0.1mm thinner.

In all seriousness, a physical SIM is starting to feel like an antiquated notion -- the last time we relied on one for a full-on address book import was about 5 years ago, and the only thing we really use them for (outside of losing them) is for reassigning our phone number to a different device. Rumor has it that Apple would like to get away from a clunky user-accessible SIM altogether, and move most of that typical SIM responsibility into the "cloud," with possibly a tiny little unique ID chip inside your phone to keep things secure. It makes particular sense for Apple, with its iTunes device management and potential dual-band CDMA / GSM iPhones on the horizon. Of course, it also sounds terrifying and user disempowering, but isn't that what the cloud is all about?

[Via Phone Scoop]