Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 could support ‘game-changing’ satellite connectivity feature

By: |
August 30, 2021 1:14 PM

Notably, it is the LEO satellites on which the Starlink internet service by tech mogul Elon Musk relies.

LEO 5G would have the ability to provide access to the internet in places where towers do not currently beam down other forms of 5G speed.

iPhone 13: We seem to be mere weeks away from the launch of the iPhone 13, and as we approach the D-day, the rumours are getting stronger and more exciting! Now, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that the ability to make satellite calls would be built right into the upcoming iPhone. As per Kuo, the iPhone 13 would be able to connect with low-earth orbit satellites or LEO satellites directly with the help of a customised Qualcomm X60 baseband chip.

Also read | Apple admits some iPhones may have ‘no sound issues’, will repair them free of charge

Notably, it is the LEO satellites on which the Starlink internet service by tech mogul Elon Musk relies. The satellites beam the internet directly to the terminals provided to the customers, and it aims to provide a solution to the common problems that come with traditional broadband services like common blackouts and high latency.
But does that mean that this feature would be incorporated into the iPhone just to support the venture that Musk has undertaken? Well, not quite. The feature, if indeed being added, seems to be a timely addition on the part of Cupertino to cash in on a movement that Musk has started, or at the very least, popularised.

Starlink is not the only company using LEO satellites. Many companies have, or are beginning to, come up to give Starlink a run for its money. Hughesnet and OneWeb have decided to join hands to compete with Musk’s company, while Immarsat has announced a new constellation of satellites that would blend with terrestrial 5G networks.

However, more important is Globalstar, which witnessed a spike in its shares earlier this year after chipmaker Qualcomm announced an upcoming X65 chip that would support Globalstar’s Band n53 tech, which has been approved as a 5G band. This means that if the new iPhone is found to have this feature, then the X60 could likely support another 5G element.

LEO 5G would have the ability to provide access to the internet in places where towers do not currently beam down other forms of 5G speed. This is especially true for rural areas where people struggle to even get 3G or 4G connectivity.

However, how Cupertino would balance the feature with the phone’s battery life is yet to be seen, and so is the way Apple would deal with the arboreal interference, which acts as a major obstacle for Starlink’s connectivity.

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