iPhone 14: Will Apple announce satellite communication?

Apple would have already completed the tests (even with the iPhone 13), but it still has to reach an agreement with the telephone operators.

© Pixabay/Ribastank

There have been rumors for years that Apple is developing a feature in the iPhone that would allow it to communicate via satellites when out of reach of traditional mobile networks. Moreover, before the presentation of the iPhone 13 in 2021, sources had suggested that the Cupertino company could present this functionality. But that didn’t happen.

Today, while Apple is preparing the officialization of the iPhone 14 series (the keynote is scheduled for September 7), this satellite communication is making headlines again. In a recent blog post, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explains that the increase in the frequency of natural disasters as well as geopolitical conflicts will make satellite communication, for emergency calls or SMS, a must-have for smartphones.

And with regard to Apple, the analyst indicates that satellite communication is one of the elements that have been tested by the firm on the iPhone 14 series. On the hardware level, these tests would have been completed. The feature could both send text messages and make emergency calls.

However, Kuo has some reservations. Because according to him, the deployment of this feature on the iPhone 14 would still depend on the operators. Indeed, satellite communication could only be launched if Apple finds an agreement with the telephone operators on the economic model to be adopted.

Moreover, still according to the analyst, Apple has already done hardware tests on the iPhone 13.

“Difficult to predict precisely when the iPhone will offer a satellite communication service, but I think it will eventually happen”, assures this one.

If not, the invitation published by Apple for its September 7 keynote could also be a clue . Indeed, the visual is an apple (the Apple logo) drawn by stars. For some media, this might suggest that satellite communication will be featured at the event. Others think it could be a clue to the camera’s ability to photograph the starry sky.

A feature that becomes necessary

In any case, other manufacturers should launch into satellite communication. Recently, chip supplier Mediatek announced that it had achieved the feat of “supporting satellite communications with commercial 5G smartphone hardware. 

“This step continues MediaTek’s long tradition of 5G R&D innovations,” said HC Hwang, general manager of wireless communication system and partnership at MediaTek. “With this test, MediaTek has successfully validated the ability to connect a 5G smartphone to satellite networks, opening the door for the development of 5G satellite networks to bring ubiquitous connectivity around the world.”

And according to Ming Chi Kuo, during the presentation of the Mate 50, a day before the Apple keynote, Huawei could present a satellite communication functionality for emergency SMS, thanks to a partnership with the company BeiDou Navigation Satellite.

Otherwise, in the United States, Starlink and the operator T-Mobile announced their partnership a few days ago. This will allow the operator’s customers to communicate, even when they are out of range of traditional mobile networks, thanks to the constellation of Starlink satellites.

“From the middle of Death Valley to the Great Smoky Mountains or even that lingering neighborhood dead zone, T-Mobile and SpaceX have a vision to give customers a crucial extra layer of connectivity in areas previously unreachable by cellular signals. from any supplier. And the service aims to work with the phone already in your pocket. The vast majority of smartphones already on T-Mobile’s network will be compatible with the new service using the device’s existing radio. No additional equipment to buy”, reads the press release from the American operator.

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