New reports are indicating that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 will feature satellite communication connectivity in an aspect that will allow users to make calls and send texts in areas with little to no cellular coverage.
The iPhone 13 has been the subject of much speculation and conversation has been forming around a series of alleged leaks of the forthcoming handset.
According to a recent note seen by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 will be coming to market with new hardware that will tap low orbit satellites, allowing the iPhone 13 to remain connected even in areas without internet or mobile coverage.
The iPhone 13 is expected to make use of the Qualcomm X60 baseband chip, which reportedly supports satellite communications. If this proves to be the case and the device ships with satellite connectivity features, then it would make the iPhone more attractive to potential customers who live in or near areas that lack cellular service, such as rural communities in Africa.
However, the device’s expected price-point will eliminate any notions that the phone is focused on digital inclusion, the iPhone 12 retails currently for around $799 for standard models.
Instead, this feature is probably more for travellers who venture into areas or remote regions that are not covered, who still want the peace of mind of always-on communications via satellite. A feature that is usually reserved for satellite phones.
For those looking to read up on an inclusive communication solution involving satellites and remote areas, Elon Musk’s Starlink seems to be the best bet right now.
According to Kuo, LEO satellite communication service provider Globalstar is set to be the company “most likely to cooperate with Apple in terms of technology and service coverage.”
Globalstar has operated dozens of satellites for voice services at low altitudes for many years, the same altitudes said to be tapped by the new iPhone.
Apple’s iPhone 13 is expected to debut next month in September, with other rumoured features such as an upgraded design including a smaller notch, thicker camera bump and new and different colour options like bubblegum pink and matte black.