CEO of France Telecom Stephane Richard has dropped a strong hint that Apple is going to be making the iPhone 5 smaller and thinner than previous iterations.

France Telecom owns the Orange brand, and Richard confirmed that the network has been working with Apple to create smaller SIM cards to gain more space inside its devices, according to an interview by All Things Digital:

"We are going to work with [Apple] in order to standardize a new format of SIM which takes into account our needs with security and authentication and also is compatible with their wishes in terms of size.

"I understood that the next iPhone would be smaller and thinner and they are definitely seeking some space."

Keeping the insides safe

Richard also stated that Apple was looking to do away with the SIM card altogether to move to virtual identification instead, something Orange was keen to nip in the bud to preserve customers' privacy:

"Apple has been working for years on reducing the size of SIM cards because they need space in the phone. They even thought about a device without any SIM card, that is what is known as the e-SIM project.

"All of us told them it was a bad idea because the SIM card is a critical piece of the security and authentication process. It would be very difficult for a telco or carrier to manage the customer relationship.

"I think that they understood this point. We had a very constructive exchange and dialogue with them."

So the new iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4S, depending on your information) will be smaller, thinner, faster, better, stronger, lighter and blacker/whiter than ever before it seems - the only question is: when will we actually get confirmation on the iPhone 5 release date?