The next iPhone could support satellite communication if Apple can settle on a partner
Influential Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with an exciting new report for investors about the iPhone and satellite communication. Kuo says Apple has already completed hardware testing requirements for the service for the Phone 13 and the upcoming iPhone 14. However, the lack of a business partner is why satellite communication has yet to be offered to iPhone customers.
That could eventually change, however, and Kuo believes Globalstar will be Apple’s initial partner when it does.
Based in Covington, Louisiana, Globalstar, Inc. operates a low Earth orbit satellite constellation for satellite phone and low-speed data connections. Its most recent satellite launched in June using a Falcon 9 rocket.
A growing need for satellite communication
Kuo believes the rise of natural disasters and geopolitical conflicts will eventually make satellite communication a “must-have” smartphone feature. Earlier this month, MediaTek demonstrated satellite communication with commercial 5G smartphone hardware. The technology could go live as early as Tuesday, September 6, when Huawei reveals the new Mate 50 smartphone. The device will likely offer emergency texting services via satellite communication via the BDS (BeiDou Navigation Satellite) system.
This isn’t the first time Kuo has mentioned satellite communication and iPhone; In September 2021, before Apple’s iPhone 13 announcement, the analyst said that the handset would support low-orbit satellite communication. At the time, Kuo mentioned service could eventually come from Globalstar and perhaps Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
This isn’t the only satellite news in recent days. On Friday, T-Mobile and SpaceX announced plans to provide “truly universal coverage” for smartphone customers using the Starlink satellite network.
Apple’s expected to reveal the iPhone 14 series on Wednesday, September 7. In addition to the iPhone 14, the company is expected to announce the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, and for the first time, an iPhone Max model.
Will Apple announce its satellite communication plans at next week’s event? We’ll find out soon enough.