December 7, 2022

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Could Apple be planning for a new era of satellite communications for mobile phones?

The next iPhone could connect directly to some satellites, according to renowned tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple specialist and reported by many American media. The idea is to be able to, in the future, get access via one’s smartphone to an internet connection from space, without any geographical limitations



Communication with your iPhone via satellite could quickly become a reality.


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Communication with your iPhone via satellite could quickly become a reality.

At least one version of the iPhone 13 could include a dedicated chip for the reception of satellite communications, in this case the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60. This would then allow it to connect to satellites in low-earth orbit (LEO) — generally at less than 1500 km altitude.

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The idea is to be able to take advantage of satellite communications, at least to receive and send calls or text messages, without traditional cellular coverage. The advantage of being able to use satellites is to be able to benefit from optimal coverage, even in extreme conditions such as in the open sea, in the mountains or in the desert, at least as far as basic calls are concerned. Because when it comes to connecting to the internet via satellites, there is still work to be done.

In recent years, low-earth orbit satellites have been popping up everywhere, notably under the impetus of Starlink and its offer of internet access via space. But Starlink isn’t the only company getting into this new business, and Apple may be jumping the gun somewhat in its anticipation of the future success of these types of offerings. While more initiatives to provide 5G access from space are emerging,what will be the cost for the end consumer?

David Bénard

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