The iPhone 13 would support satellite communication to make calls and send messages when there is no cellular coverage, according to a report from Ming-Chi Kuo. The analyst has a very good reputation for previewing Apple news, thanks to his sources on Asian production lines.
The iPhone 13 would connect to low-orbiting satellites offering calling and data services. According to Kuo, they would achieve this through a modified version of the Qualcomm X60 chip that would support connections to low-orbiting satellites. It is unclear whether Apple would offer the service for free, limited to its own services, or whether it will be an extra subscription offered by the company itself or through third parties.
Technology similar to SpaceX’s Starlink
The technology used for data or voice connections to low-orbiting satellites is similar to that used by SpaceX’s Starlink, but with significant differences to operate from a device as small as the iPhone 13. Should the rumour come true, Apple would use the Globalstar carrier, as Qualcomm has worked with the company to enable its X65 chips to support communication with the provider.
According to Kuo, the industry impact of using satellite communications in smartphones such as the iPhone 13 would be large. “Similar to what happened with mmWave 5G,” he explained in his report. According to the analyst, Apple has set up an internal team for research and development of related technologies.
In the future, the company would allegedly incorporate voice and data communication with low-orbiting satellites into more devices, to offer innovative experiences. This would include the augmented reality glasses that Apple has reportedly been working on for years.