We predict that iPhone 13 hardware specifications could support low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications. If Apple enables the relevant software functions, iPhone 13 users can call and send messages via satellite when not within 4G/5G coverage.
To enable satellite communication, the iPhone 13 would require a customized Qualcomm X60 baseband chip. Kuo suggests that Globalstar would be the service provider "most likely to cooperate with Apple in terms of technology and service coverage". To make things easier for customers, a partner network operator could use Globalstar's service, routing customers through it if 4G or 5G was unavailable.
Kuo says that Apple is "optimistic" about satellite communications and has set up a team for research and development of the technology. It also plans to bring LEO to more devices that "provide innovative experiences", perhaps the rumored Apple Car, reality headset, and more.
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