If the rumors are true, Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 will feature built-in satellite communications. That means it will be able to communicate with satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and transmit calls and text messages when you normally wouldn’t have coverage.
With the launch of iPhone 8 and new iOS, LTE simulators are now obsolete. But one sim hasn’t been shelved yet. LEO satellite technology, a system to make calls and texts without cellular coverage, could be included on iPhone 13 with a new modem from Intel.
Apple is not the first to consider an LEO sim but rumors suggest that iPhone 13 would be first to market.
Kuo noted in the research note that the iPhone 13 will support Wi-Fi connectivity at frequencies below 6 GHz. Assuming this is correct, it means the device could connect to sub-6 GHz LEO satellites that use the L-band frequency range, as well as terrestrial LEO base stations.
iPhone 13 could be Apple’s first smartphone that features the ability to connect to LEO satellites. For those unfamiliar with LEO satellites, they are basically a form of communication satellite that are in lower orbits than those sent out by companies like SpaceX.
Across Europe Apple has a monopoly on all mobile phones sold but LEO could change many things. Vital information for travellers or those who live in remote areas such as Shetland or the Western Isles which currently rely on handling distress messages.
The next iPhone will reportedly utilize a customized Qualcomm X60 baseband chip that supports satellite communications. This could potentially be a response to Apple dropping Intel chips and moving towards its own proprietary base band solution. Since the iPhone 11, all iPhones have been using modems with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality already built in.
The iPhone 13 (2021 release) will be the first Apple smartphone to offer satellite communication features according to a report by Ming-Chi Kuo. But while Kuo did not mention whether any other smartphone manufacturer is planning to adopt X65 technology, tipsters say Apple’s rivals are currently waiting until 2022 to use the feature.