Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims Apple will include low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication support on the iPhone 13 series. This will allow the upcoming iPhones to make calls and send messages even when they are not connected to a mobile network.
Right now, there’s no smartphone in the market to feature LEO connectivity that can make calls and send messages without being connected to a mobile network.
Kuo says Apple will include the required hardware to support LEO satellite communications on the iPhone 13 series. It is up to the company whether it enables the relevant software features or not, though. As for the hardware, Apple will be using a customized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 baseband to achieve this.
Other Android OEMs will wait until Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 modem is available in 2022 to adopt the technology. Qualcomm is working with Globalstar to directly include support for the n53 band in its Snapdragon x65 modem.
Qualcomm has worked closely with Globalstar, and Apple could leverage this partnership to bring satellite connectivity to iPhone 13 users. The analyst believes the “simplest scenario is that if the user’s operator has already teamed with Globalstar, the user can directly use Globalstar’s satellite communication service on the iPhone 13 through the operator’s service.”Kuo
Kuo even speculates that Apple could use LEO connectivity on its AR headset, Apple Car, and other IoT products in the future. The company is adding LEO connectivity to the iPhone 13 series as a stepping stone to build innovative user experiences.
Apple is rumored to unveil the iPhone 13 series at a virtual event on September 14, with the devices then going for pre-order on September 17. In a report from last week, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman detailed all the changes coming to the new iPhones.