Apple Invents Secure Touchscreen SIM Card Tray Ejection System

On April 03, 2014, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that reveals a simple yet sophisticated next generation SIM card tray ejection system. The system is activated on a future iOS touchscreen UI virtual button. The new system adds a new level of security for SIM cards which will be important as future iDevices may support bank related SIM cards for credit and/or debit.

Apple’s Patent Background

Many devices these days include one or more removable entities, such as a subscriber identity module (“SIM”) card, that store information used (e.g., by a wireless network operator) to identify a subscriber of the device.

Such devices include mobile telephones, tablet devices, computers, and other electronic devices. Oftentimes, an owner of a device may desire to eject a removable entity from the device (e.g., when sending the device in for repairs or traveling to a foreign country that supports the storage medium, but not the device). However, typical devices employ removable entity ejection systems that require the user to perform a manual action (e.g., inserting an ejection tool into the device), which may be disadvantageous. For example, during a manual ejection procedure, the user may damage the removable entity or even the device.

Further, because the removable entity may store identification information pertaining to the owner of the device, the removable entity may be subject to theft by anyone with physical access to the device. That is, in addition to, or in lieu of, stealing the device, a thief may access personal information stored in the removable entity, even if the device’s user interface is locked or inaccessible (e.g., by password protection). Accordingly, there is a need to improve current removable entity ejection system designs for ejecting storage media from electronic devices.

Apple’s Solution

Apple’s invention relates to systems and methods for ejecting removable entities from electronic devices. An electronic device may include a removable entity retention system for retaining and/or coupling to one or more removable entities. The electronic device may also include a removable entity ejection system for ejecting the one or more removable entities from the removable entity retention system.

Apple’s patent FIG. 9 noted below is a front view of an iPhone presenting a display screen that includes an option for ejecting a removable entity such as a SIM card tray; Apple’s FIG. 10 shows us a flowchart of an illustrative method of ejecting at least one removable entity from an electronic device.

Read more here.

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