US phone maker Apple is planning on adding satellite calls & messages features on iPhone 13. If this becomes a reality, users would be able to make calls and text without a mobile network.
Bloomberg reported that Apple had a team working on satellite communications since 2017.
If it happens, the feature would come with two most useful features for an emergency, sources told Bloomberg. The feature would enable users to send texts to the first responders and call in for crashes or mishaps in any region.
The good part is that such communication requires no traditional mobile network and helps authorities to take action timely and in worst-case scenarios.
Analysts Ming-Chi Kuo ‘revealed’ that iPhone 13 would possess the necessary hardware to support LEO (Lower Earth Orbiting) satellites. The hardware in question would be a custom Qualcomm X60 baseband chip.
Kuo says that Apple would need to team up with a satellite provider to launch the service. He says the service provider Globalstar would be “most likely to cooperate with Apple in terms of technology and service coverage.”
But Bloomberg has suggested there is no need to get super hyped up. The network reports that this technology is “unlikely to be ready before” 2022 at the least. It further claimed that Apple’s purpose is to implement satellite service for emergency situations and not the standard one. It has even been predicted that Apple may shelve this plan altogether.
However, other sources have reported that iPhone 13 could come with satellite communications features which are set to launch this September. If this comes true, users could take early benefit of satellite calls and texts on a smartphone.
iPhones’ Satellite Communications For Two Emergency Features
As mentioned earlier, if the service lands on iPhones, there would be two emergency features. The first would be “Emergency Message via Satellite.” This will enable users to text to the first responders without needing a telecom signal. Apple would incorporate this feature in its SMS and iMessage apps.
The second will be about reporting major emergency situations, such as plane crash, sinking ships, etc. Such texts would be short and succinct and skip “Do Not Disturb” mode when a user has to send a message.
Apple requires to add a chip on iPhones for satellite communications. Despite the rumors, there is a 50/50 chance that iPhone 13 would come with the feature.
A smartphone with a satellite feature will add another layer of communication and be helpful in emergency situations. However, the technology may take time to materialize or not happen at all.
Would you entertain a smartphone with satellite capabilities? What would be your best utility with such a feature? Let us know in the comments.