Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 release looks set to bring some form of satellite communications component for the first time, but a new report suggests that it might not be what it first seemed.
According to Mark Gurman’s latest Power On newsletter, the iPhone 13 won’t necessarily have satellite connectivity everywhere and is instead designed to be used in emergencies.
Gurman says that the new connection method is designed for disasters where normal cellular connectivity won’t be available. In fact, anywhere where cellular connectivity is functional, Gurman says the satellite component won’t.
After nearly five years exploring how it could work with satellites, Apple is gearing up for its first related launch: emergency features for the iPhone. Apple is working on at least two approaches: transmitting short emergency texts and sending SOS distress signals for crises, like plane crashes or sinking ships, in remote areas.
Gurman also drove home the point that this isn’t traditional satellite communications and that people won’t be able to make calls like they would on a satellite phone. What’s more, Gurman says that is unlikely to happen at all — most certainly not in the near future, likely due to the furor it would cause with Apple’s carrier partners.
Some have asked me if these new features mean that the iPhone can be used as a satellite phone and have the ability to make calls anywhere in the world without cellular coverage. The answer is a big no. That’s not happening now, next year, or anytime in the near future.
All being well it’s expected that Apple will announce the iPhone 13 at an event that will likely take place within the next couple of weeks. A smaller notch, new camera systems, and 120Hz display are the main reasons to get excited about this new update if the rumors are to be believed.
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