We've all been in a situation where we've gone to make a call or send a message and there's no signal... it's usually when it's needed the most.
That might be a thing of the past soon because Apple's newest iPhone could offer low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communications. WTF is that, I hear you ask?
Well, LEO-satellites orbit between 500 and 2,000 kilometres from Earth (compared to traditional communications satellites which orbit at more than 35,000km). This, in turn, provides users with a higher bandwidth.
So the new iPhones are said to include software capable of connecting to the LEO satellites meaning that there would be no need for a 4G or 5G connection.
For those times when you're stuck up a mountain and it's going dark... or you car breaks down in the middle of no where. You know, common problems.
According to reports, the iPhone 13 has a customised Qualcomm X60 baseband chip that supports the communications. Guess Covid-deniers will swerve this then, eh?
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (a reliable source) explained that Apple is 'optimistic' about the trend of satellite communications and claimed that the company set up a specific team to research the development of technologies some time ago.
According to MacRumors, Kuo added that the 'simplest scenario' to get connectivity would have network operators, such as AT&T or Verizon, work with Globalstar.
This means customers could use Globalstar's satellite communication service on the iPhone 13 directly through their network operator with no additional contracts or payments required.
Aerospace Technology claim that, at present, Globalstar has 48 LEO satellites in operation.
It's not clear whether sending texts and making calls over satellite would only work with Apple-specific services such as iMessage and FaceTime or whether it would be a limited service (e.g. special emergency messaging mode).
Apple will hopefully announce more in September when the iPhone 13 is revealed. According to 9to5Mac, the device is set to largely resemble the iPhone 12 lineup with regards to screen size and form factor.
Having said that, new features could include: camera system upgrades, high-refresh rate display for the Pro models, and a smaller display notch.
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