Sometimes, a patent grant is less about the technology itself than what it could mean for others. Case in point: a newly granted Apple patent for a "mini-SIM connector." The design complements earlier work and represents a straightforward approach to a SIM slot that prevents damage from inserting the card the wrong way and ejects the card through a plunger system. By securing the patent, however, Apple gains a bargaining chip in phone technology disputes, especially for SIM-related tussles; companies are less likely to start a fight if Apple can return fire. The claim doesn't give Apple a lock on subscriber modules by any means, but it could lead to other adopters treading carefully.