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Orange CEO confirms smaller SIM cards, thinner design for next-gen iPhone

Stephane Richard France Telecom OrangeThe chief executive of wireless giant France Telecom, Stephane Richard, has revealed in a new interview a number of details about Apple‘s next iPhone, including its smaller, thinner design. Richard also confirms an earlier report that France Telecom, whose Orange brand carries the iPhone in 15 countries, and Apple are working together to develop a smaller SIM card to accommodate the next-gen iPhone’s miniscule size.

“We are going to work with them in order to standardize a new format of SIM which takes into accout our needs with security and authentication and also is compatible with their wishes in terms of size,” Richard told All Things Digital in an exclusive interview. “I understood that the next iPhone would be smaller and thinner and they are definitely seeking some space.”

While Richard had mostly good things to say about Steve Jobs’ Cupertino, California-based operation, the telecom executive criticized Apple’s over-controlling ways when it comes to its app approval process and its effects on people’s access to information.

“Everybody is talking about Net Neutrality,” he said. “Net Neutrality is not only dealing with pipes. It also deals with management of application shops. If you have people like Apple managing their application store and saying ‘This is OK and I don’t want to see this app in my shop,’ it’s a problem.”

Richard’s revelations didn’t stop with Apple and the iPhone. In terms of the recently minted Microsoft-Nokia partnership, the CEO says it “seems difficult” for the two companies to “revers the quite negative trend they have in the market,” but doesn’t rule out the possibility of a rebound.

As far as Research In Motion and its BlackBerry line is concerned, Richard admits that his company “regularly” has problems with RIM’s operating system, as compared to Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android, but asserts that the brand’s prevalence is “not really declining,” at least in Europe. He adds, however, that the company’s most recent devices “had some quality problems,” and that “they really should fix very quickly” the deficiencies in their products.

To read the full interview, click here.