iPhone 13 Users have great options now. Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the iPhone 13 would feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity.
As a result, this will allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage. In his write-up, Kuo bases this theory on Qualcomm’s work with Globalstar.
“There are many potential scenarios for Apple’s business model cooperation with Globalstar. The simplest scenario is that if the user’s operator has already teamed with Globalstar, the user can directly use Globalstar’s satellite communication service on the iPhone 13 through the operator’s service.”
iPhone 13 Users have a great chance.
iPhone 12 introduced 5G connectivity to Apple’s iPhone lineup, and people have favored it by showing a huge demand for 5G. However, while this year’s upcoming iPhone will definitely feature 5G with enhanced capabilities, Apple may add a new cellular radio technology to the iPhone 13.
According to the renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 may come with a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communication feature, which helps make calls and send SMS in an area with spotty network signals.
In his investor note, as seen by 9to5Mac, Kuo said that the LEO technology might be a big upgrade to how iPhones have dealt with cellular connectivity. It essentially allows the device to create satellite-based communication, even outside the standard 4G or 5G network range.
Back in 2019, Bloomberg was the first to report that Apple may use the LEO satellite communication mode on the iPhone for fast data transfer, but this is the first time we have heard about the feature likely to be implemented on the upcoming iPhone since then. Not only to the iPhone 13, but Apple may also introduce the LEO technology to the rumored AR headset, Apple Car, and other Internet of Things products.
The LEO satellite communication feature will be possible because of the Qualcomm X60 baseband modem chip that will support communication over satellite through customization. Although the LEO mode will allow the exchange of calls and texts, it is not clear at the moment if these two features will work with Apple services, such as iMessage and FaceTime, or if Apple may use proxy satellite communication to regular network towers to beam information to any device. Since this seems like a feature meant for emergencies, the latter makes more sense. There is also no information about whether Apple will charge its users for this service.
The iPhone 13, on the other hand, is going to be an incremental upgrade. In fact, some rumors suggest it may as well be called the iPhone 12S and not the iPhone 13 because of how Apple classifies its iPhone models each year. In addition, the iPhone 13 is rumored to come with a small notch in its OLED display.
There may be four models this time: the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The Pro models may come with 120Hz ProMotion LTPO OLED displays, which Samsung is manufacturing for Apple. In addition, the cameras on the iPhone 13 may bring more features and enhancements to the image quality, although these changes may not be so big. The iPhone 13 is also expected to come with the Apple A15 Bionic processor.
The Bottom Line
Kuo suggested that the iPhone 13 users would communicate over LEO satellites with no additional contracts or payments required. Network operators, however, may need to work with Globalstar to enable LEO satellite communication.
LEO satellite communications may be available alongside millimeter wave (mmWave) and sub-6GHz 5G connectivity on the iPhone 13 models.
Kuo believes that Apple may expand LEO satellite communications beyond the iPhone 13 lineup and would provide its experience on its anticipated mixed-reality headset, electric vehicle, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the future.
As reported by MacRumors, Kuo in his note to investors said that if enabled with the relevant software features, the iPhone 13 models will allow users to make voice calls and send text messages without requiring a 4G or 5G cellular connection. In addition, the new iPhone lineup is said to have a customized Qualcomm X60 baseband chip to support communication through LEO satellites.
Qualcomm is reportedly working with Globalstar to connect satellite communication over the n53 band on mobile devices using its X65 chip. However, the iPhone 13 family appears to get a similar experience through the X60 modem.