Stephane Richard, CEO of France Telecom (owner of Orange), has confirmed that the next Apple iPhone will contain an even smaller SIM card than the micro-SIM that your iPhone 4 packs - and that the device itself will be "smaller and thinner".

In an interview with All Things D Richard, whose company has more iPhone customers than any other network bar AT&T, stated that at one point Apple wanted to employ a virtual SIM card in the iPhone 5. In other words, it wanted rid of the SIM altogether.

"All of us told them it was a bad idea because the SIM card is a critical piece of the security and authentication process," Richard says when explaining why Apple decided to drop project E-SIM.

"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."

Apple has instead decided to focus on a standardised SIM size, smaller than the micro-SIM (as Pocket-lint reported that it would last week) and Richard confirmed that the networks are working alongside the Cupertino bods to make this happen.

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

"This is good evidence we can work properly with Apple people, Apple teams. In that particular case, we have been able to find, I think, a good answer which is good for everyone."

Just to recap then, if the rumour mill rings true for all of its iPhone 5 predictions then we are looking at a smaller, thinner device with a curved display and a bigger screen packing NFC capabilities and a new nano-SIM.

Roll on September eh fanboys?

In the meantime, check out our iPhone 5: specs and features wishlist