Apple has just been granted an important patent involving a SIM card connector invention that is not innovative so much as competitive.

Filed way back in the third quarter of 2010, the patent is titled “Mini-sim connector” and is credited to Zheng Gao, Benjamin Rappoport, and Steve McClure. It is apparently borne out of a desire to ensure that 3G or 4G connectivity is maintained in compatible devices.

More often that not, devices that support 3G or 4G connectivity require SIM card. These SIM cards, by definition, identify the subscribers who are in possession of such devices, thereby enabling them to use the 3G or 4G provisions they’re subscribed to.

Of course, users may need to remove and replace these SIM cards from and into their respective devices. It is to this end that Apple has come up with a patent for …

Connectors that may allow SIM cards to be easily removed and replaced, may be resistant to damage by an improper insertion of a SIM card, and may provide reliable mechanical performance. One example may provide a plunger system where a user can push on a plunger rod and eject a SIM card. Another example may provide contacts that are not damaged by improper insertion of a SIM card. Another example may provide a plastic housing, the housing reinforced by a metallic shield and having a relatively uniform thickness

Although titled “Mini-sim connector,” the granted patent (#8,337,223) may be applied to any SIM card other than a mini-SIM card. It may be applied to a micro-SIM card, which is used in an iPhone 4/4S, or a nano-SIM card, which is used in an iPhone 5.

More notably, its application is not limited to an iPhone, nor to Apple devices for that matter.

Sure, Fig. 1 in the patent drawing above specifically mentions an iPhone, iPad, and a MacBook Pro as examples of devices with which the SIM card connector in question may be used. But the devices may very well include any other type of phone, computer, monitor, or SIM-enabled device.

And this is what makes Apple’s SIM card connector invention rather competitive, so to speak. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how Apple’s competitors, including Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM, will adopt this newly patented technology, if at all.

Source: USPTO
Via and Image: Patently Apple