Apple may announce its long-running satellite connectivity feature for the iPhone 14 next month, according to Tim Farrar, a satellite communications consultant at the California-based research firm Telecom, Media & Finance Associates.
one in series of tweetsT-Mobile and SpaceX’s satellite connectivity announcement yesterday was intended to pre-empt Apple’s announcement of its own satellite connectivity feature for the iPhone in partnership with Globalstar, Farrar said. Apple is holding a media event at the Steve Jobs Theater on September 7, and the event’s “Far Out” tagline and starry sky artwork have fueled speculation about the satellite connectivity announcement.
In February, Globalstar announced that it acquired 17 new satellites to provide “continuous satellite services” to a “potential customer”, which could be Apple.
Farrar said Apple’s service would only be offered for free for two-way text messaging at launch and would use existing satellite spectrum, which would not require any rule changes from the FCC. By comparison, T-Mobile and SpaceX plan to take advantage of T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G spectrum and support SMS text messages, MMS and select messaging apps, but Farrar believes This more ambitious approach would face regulatory hurdles around the world.
bloombergK Mark Gurman was the first to report that Apple was working on satellite connectivity for the iPhone in December 2019. Earlier this year, Gurman said that Apple is still working on the feature and said it could be ready for the iPhone 14 later this year. Gurman claimed that the feature would be intended for use in emergency situations, allowing iPhone users to report emergencies to authorities and send short text messages to emergency contacts, and he said the functionality would also be available on a new Apple Watch. can.
iPhones will need a special modem chip to connect to satellites, according to Gurman, suggesting that the feature may only be compatible with the iPhone 14 and newer. By comparison, T-Mobile said the “vast majority” of those already on its network will be able to connect SpaceX’s satellites to its existing cellular chips.
Additional details about Apple’s rumored satellite connectivity feature, such as whether the feature will be limited to the US or available globally, remain unknown. Apple’s media event will begin on September 7th at 10 a.m. Pacific Time and MacRumors Everything announced will have comprehensive coverage, so be sure to follow along.