The iPhone 12 launch featured a lot of discussions about 5G, which was a big deal for Apple. Satellite connectivity, however, is rumored to be built into future iPhones. The aim of this article is to discuss all the rumours associated with upcoming iPhone 13’s low orbit satellite communication.
Satellite communication in iPhones
It is not new news that satellite communication is now available on iPhones. Mark Gurman reported in 2019 that Apple is working on advanced satellite communication technology with a “secret team”. Plans for this project date back even earlier than that.
Thankfully, Ming-Chi Kuo is bringing the project back to the forefront of the news. A trusted Apple leaker, Kuo is an analyst at TF International Securities. A satellite connection is already possible with Apple hardware, according to him. At the moment, the company uses a customized Snapdragon X60 5G modem.
Limited to emergencies
Apple’s iPhone 13 users will be able to communicate without a working cellular network once the new modem is installed. People who live in remote areas could benefit from this. Nonetheless, Apple will only use this feature during emergencies.
Users are able to activate this Emergency Message tool, called “Stewie inside Apple”, by typing “Emergency SOS” in the place where the contact’s name would normally be typed. A more convenient method will likely be rolled out by Apple in the future.
In addition to SMS and iMessage, this feature will be implemented in the Message app as a third-party protocol. Although it is configured for Do Not Disturb (DnD), it will still be operational.
Using Apple’s technology, users will also be able to report emergencies such as deadly accidents. The users will be required to provide information like the type of accident, parties involved, and whether a rescue team is needed.
As with Garmin’s inReach satellite-based technology, this feature lets users share data from their devices over satellite including messages, travel routes, and location coordinates. According to reports, Apple will sue Globalstar over its satellite project. The company has not yet decided whether to integrate the subscription feature into iOS or offer a separate subscription service.
While this technology has many benefits, it has its complexities as well. If you want to use the new feature, you will need to manually connect your iPhone to the satellite system. A process involving walking with the phone in a particular direction for over a minute will be followed.
The new iPhones will use Apple’s existing modem. However, satellite communication technology won’t be available on iPhones until next year. Thus, it is still unknown if iOS 13 will include this function. Even the rumored Apple Car will support this mode of communication, as it will be supported by the majority of Apple products in the future.