In an investor note in August, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple could equip iPhone 13 with a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communication mode. This would allow users to send messages and make phone calls without any signals present. According to a new report, the satellite features will only be available for units sold in select markets.
iPhone 13 satellite features will not be available globally
Kuo on August 29 said that the Qualcomm X60 baseband chip, which Apple is rumored to be using for its upcoming lineup, will support low-earth-orbit satellite communications via a customized baseband chip.
In the latest issue of Bloomberg’s “Power On” newsletter, Mark Gurman claims satellite communications will be included in the upcoming flagship lineup for only for models “in select markets.” The feature is intended to work as an emergency measure in limited markets and only if cellular coverage is unavailable.
“The emergency features will only work in areas without any cellular coverage and only in select markets. Apple envisions eventually deploying its own array of satellites to beam data to devices, but that plan is likely years away from taking off.”
Gurman says the feature will not allow users to make calls when without cellular coverage as it would be “expensive and could cause a revolt from the phone carriers that Apple relies on.”
“Some have asked me if these new features mean that the iPhone can be used as a satellite phone and have the ability to make calls anywhere in the world without cellular coverage. The answer is a big no. That’s not happening now, next year, or anytime in the near future.”
As per a previous report, the Cupertino tech giant is focusing on two emergency features for areas with poor or no cellular coverage. Replying on satellite networks, users will be able to send a text to first responders/contacts and report crashes in the areas. The company’s current focus is on the texting feature, the calling capability will be added later on.