Apple is set to announce the new iPhone 14 lineup on September 7 and a new report claims that we might see Apple and Globalstar announce a joint project that will bring satellite connectivity to the devices.
The news comes on the heels of a similar announcement by T-Mobile and SpaceX that will see the latter’s satellites used to provide additional coverage for T-Mobile customers.
It’ll mean that they can send and receive messages even when they don’t have cellular connectivity. And something similar could come to iPhones.
Tim Farrar, a telecoms consultant, believes that the recent T-Mobile announcement happened because the company was trying to get the news out before Apple announced its own deal. Globalstar was said to have bought 17 satellites for use with a “potential customer” earlier this year. The satellites are built to provide “continuous satellite services”, as noted by MacRumors.
Farrar said Apple’s service will be offered free of charge for two-way text messaging only at launch and will use existing satellite spectrum, with no rule changes from the FCC required. By comparison, T-Mobile and SpaceX plan to leverage T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G spectrum and support SMS text messages, MMS, and select messaging apps, but Farrar believes this more ambitious approach will face regulatory hurdles around the world.
The new connectivity wouldn’t be a replacement for traditional cellular connectivity and will be much slower than such connections, but it could allow people to send messages when in an emergency. That could be particularly helpful in a situation when they are outside of cellular coverage.
Apple has already confirmed a “Far out” event for September, potentially hinting at a space-oriented feature like satellite connectivity.
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