Apple + satellites = ?

Bloomberg reports that Apple has recently hired two executives from Google. They are John Fenwick, who was head of Google’s spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, head of satellite engineering,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha.

“Apple has an interest and a need for satellite based imagery, but I consider it doubtful that Apple would want to become involved in satellite engineering simply to support its mapping needs. Satellites are expensive, and Apple Maps is not in itself a profit center,” Hibben writes. “Apple becoming interested in its own satellite based communications networks conjures images of the ultimate walled garden, where Apple controls everything in the iPhone user experience: the phone, apps, communications network, and media content.”

MacDailyNews Take:

“With the advent of 5G telecommunications systems only a few years away, one would have to question why Apple, or anyone else, would want to invest in the enormously expensive undertaking of launching a LEO satcomm system,” Hibben writes. “In general, they’ve never proven to be as economical as terrestrial systems, and have only found niche markets where there was inadequate cellular coverage. Such markets include shipboard communications and communications in remote areas such as Mount Everest or the South Pole.”

“It is Apple’s seriousness about autonomous vehicles that may be driving its interest in a dedicated satellite network. Such a network could provide very high bandwidth and low latency communications with Apple’s servers,” Hibben writes. “The LEO satellite system could also provide real time mapping in any locale in which the system operates, and this could also be used to enhance the safety and reliability of Apple’s autonomous vehicles.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For only about the second or third time since Steve Jobs departed this earthly plane, we’re getting the sense that something wicked this way comes!

It may be years out, but, when all is said and done, many Apple naysayers are going to be saying, “They’re baaack!

We have just one wish: That Apple would keep their eyes on all their current products and update them regularly. The company is large enough and rich enough to keep everything on the shelves fresh and… we lied, second wish: to never have 6+ week shipping delays on any new or existing products (see AirPods and the 8-Core Mac Pro for two current examples).

Why Apple may be interested in space satellites – April 21, 2017
Apple hires top Google executives for new hardware team – April 21, 2017
Apple in talks to buy Boeing communications satellites – March 18, 2015


    1. One good excuse… because they really really REALLY want folks who like that form factor to move on to some other OS. That frees them up to put more focus on iOS and the GROWING market opportunity that provides.

    2. Agreed, they are failing to their products current. But, as for the satellites, this looks to me like a bold strategic move to address GLOBAL markets. A constellation of satellites that provides coverage over the whole globe? Wow! That could be the ticket to dominate developing markets all over the world!

      1. Well, if the U.S. Government decides to stop funding scientific research that isn’t weapons-connected, somebody needs to step in to fill the gap.

        Equating scientific research with “social justice warfare” is so… is so… honestly, I can’t find a word that won’t insult persons with intellectual disabilities.

            1. If man-made global warming is such a done deal, why are we researching it anymore?

              Actual settled science (freezing and boiling points of water, gravity, the sun is darn hot) is not being researched.

              So apparently AGW is not settled science. And for a good reason — if it is true this is all man-made, it’s the first time, established by science, in recorded history. Another reason for being skeptical. Joe Bastardi, chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, April 21, 2017

            2. Good article, Scott Adams also has a great take: From Vox Day:

              “Scott nails it here: ‘In my opinion, the conservatives who know the most about science are looking at it from an historical perspective, and they see a pattern here: Complicated prediction models rarely work.’

              Bingo. And the progressives, who have the collective memory of an amnesiac on LSD, can’t understand that historical perspective because they make a practice of ignoring absolutely everything that happened before yesterday.”

            3. I’m a little perplexed and disappointed in Scott Adams about his opinion. The study he referred to found essentially that people (who happened to be conservative in this case) are not rational about their beliefs. This ought to have been down his alley. Unfortunately it seems that he is less able to shine his skeptical light over his own beliefs and favors a less parsimonious concoction.

              Which is more plausible, that people are irrationally inconsistent when you challenge their dearly held beliefs, or that from all of the vast discussion space that exists conservatives all converge on his sole articulation as their general scientific knowledge increases.

              I realize that people like offering justifications like “yeah, what he said!” but the referenced points are seldom necessary or sufficient for their own persuasion.

            4. I think your convuluted comment illustrates why so many people oppose global warming alarmism. Obfuscation, contortions, unnecessary verbiage, the truth doesn’t read like a 9th circuit court opinion. Complex climate models that contradict one another and are endlessley manipulated to provide preferred results are not credible evidence for global warming. Scott’s challenge to pick one model and show its accuracy over a 5-year period is eminently reasonable, but it won’t get picked up because no such model exists.

            5. My comment was anchored to my thoughts on a single point I was making. Precise language is important because it allows you to say everything you want to say, nothing more, and nothing less. It’s the only thing makes it possible to hold a discussion between disagreeing parties, to address the points that are made, and even to understand other points of view.

              It keeps you from including anything you shouldn’t say, such as insults that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face, and logical fallacies which are the mortar and brick of untrained argumentation.

              Thinking requires of you to dwell on every word, know what the logic is, be open about your assumptions, and show awareness of the sub-surface features of human behavior. You have to prepare yourself for the back and forth you’re going to have and show charity for competing positions.

              If verbal vomit 🤢 is more to your taste, enjoy. But you will be stuck with the company of people that like your flavor.

            6. You mentioned that climate models don’t work; how did you come to that belief? Scott Adams is a cartoonist and humorist not an expert on the topic. Even among climate scientists the people who directly deal with these models are few in number. Under these circumstances, why does anyone trust them?

              All you have to know is that science plays in a competitive arena where the best ideas win out. The climate models that we currently have are the champions in a fair match. Whether they last five years or not isn’t the issue; they will inevitably fall to better victors but the fundamentals of the sport won’t change. Adams is trying to do Monday morning quarterbacking when the game is still playing–in fact this game doesn’t end. Science plays by different rules than politics because of the objective feedback imposed on it by the outside environment.

            7. “All you have to know is that science plays in a competitive arena where the best ideas win out.” BS, most “scientific studies” can’t be replicated. Science is as corrupt as any other field.

            8. Gravity is definitely being researched.
              So are all the properties of the sun.

              The freezing and boiling points of water, at atmospheric and other pressures are settled science. Unfortunately according to some it’s cookie science because they use centigrade.

              Anyway, science is not about politics, just the truth. ONLY in the absence of knowledge (facts) is there room for opinion.

              Oh, and the earth is round….

    1. From the positive response to your suggestion, I can see that most of the readers here don’t believe in scientific research. After all, why should we research anything when Donald J. Trump already has all the answers?

      After all, the tobacco industry went to hell in a handbasket when we allowed those pesky scientists to conduct research. It would have been so much better to get our answers from politicians in North Carolina and Virginia.

      1. Just to show I’m not only cynical on Apple matters (it’s an acquired trait)…

        The research is complex, but has so far stood up to peer review. Even Nobel Prizes have been granted for this matter:

        1995: Paul J. Crutzen, Mario J. Molina, F. Sherwood Rowland (Chemistry)

        2007: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore (Peace)

        For our right wing friends, you may hate Gore, but Chemistry is a science…. But I digress….

        The science appears to be sound, but even so, follow the money…
        Finding alternate forms of energy is not only economically viable, but also morally and economically desirable. It’s a win even if the climate deniers are right!

        Who loses? Oil companies, but also defense, munitions, and weapons sellers. War has become a consumable good and the economy has become disproportionately dependent on it.

        1. “The research is complex, but has so far stood up to peer review. Even Nobel Prizes have been granted for this matter:”

          Now for my “cynical” take: To Al Gore politician and first time Hollywood fiction movie producer a Nobel Prize?

          To Obama for just getting ELECTED in the first few months in office? Get real. If Obama won for NOTHING, why not award Trump for a stunning, unprecedented upset, against record campaign money and overwhelming media favorite Clinton, hmmm? Libtard heads about to explode in 3… 2… 1… Oh, and if liberal readers could spare down votes, GoeB thanks you in advance. 👍🏻

          The Nobel prize used to be just that decades ago and objectivity is long since DEAD. Parallel construction example similar to the present day Democrat Party. The process and party has been tainted, hijacked by the radical left and the haughty limousine liberals in a socialist European nation.

          Global warming is not settled science. Notice the media manipulation? That would be “climate change” today because the former two words did not poll well. The studies are all over the spectrum and since politics has been injected into the process, it is difficult to believe what is true and what is false. Long term objective study and not politically convenient conclusions needed … ❄️

          1. Notice I acknowledged the potential for Gore being controversial, but are you questioning the Chemistry Nobel I led with? If so, put forth your chemistry arguments.
            Explain, scientifically, how it’s not settled science. I at least acknowledge that it’s credible science. It’s a long road…

            1. My main point is science is all over the map and certainly has become politicized. That is undeniable. Difficult to cull facts from politics like everything else in the media these days.

              I’m all for clean energy and respecting
              Mother Earth. But when you propose a ridiculous global Ponzi scheme to trade carbon credits and subsequently a small number of players rig the system for profit in the holy name of climate change, dubious effort at best. Has to be a better way to move on from fossil fuels ..,

            2. There is plenty of exploitation to go around. But information in the minds of the misinformed or uninformed is worse than ignorance, it’s “practicing medicine without a license”.

              Carbon credits on one hand (total businessman’s bullshit answer) to ethanol as a fuel. All BS. But that’s politics, not science.

              Science, true science, is immune to politics. That’s because it pursues the truth as evidenced in verifiable facts.

            3. Did I not call carbon credits a “Ponzi” scheme? Nowhere did I indicate they were the result of science.

              I wholeheartedly agree with your last graf on science pure as the driven snow. As they say is Missouri, “show me” …

            4. Oh, regarding the credits I was agreeing with what you and validating your position. On the rest I was expanding and clarifying. It also wasn’t directed at you. I find that the public perception of science is very poorly conceived.

  1. A low Earth orbit (LEO) is an orbit around Earth with an altitude between 160 kilometers (99 mi) (orbital period of about 88 minutes), and 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) (about 127 minutes). Objects below approximately 160 kilometers (99 mi) will experience very rapid orbital decay and altitude loss.

    With the exception of the 24 human beings who flew lunar flights in the Apollo program during the four-year period spanning 1968 through 1972, all human spaceflights have taken place in LEO or below. The International Space Station conducts operations in LEO. The altitude record for a human spaceflight in LEO was Gemini 11 with an apogee of 1,374.1 kilometers (853.8 mi). All crewed space stations to date, as well as the majority of satellites, have been in LEO. (Wiki)

    1. Another example of GeoB’s reading skills. Road Warrior hates Australia and consistently cites the overthrow of Allende as the “First 9/11.” Perhaps GeoB thinks that all foreigners who can speak English are Australian.

  2. Nearly every single thing Apple does, there is always someone questioning their plans. Amazon and Alphabet get away with doing all sorts of things and are always being praised for trying new things. Who the heck outside of Apple really knows what’s going on inside the company? It could be things completely different from what these individuals are thinking. They should realize Apple isn’t going to give away future plans and could be doing things merely to put up a smokescreen.

  3. Nice MDN Take®. The final dig at Apple regarding shipping times on new products is out of line, though. Ramping up to millions of units per month takes time, and waiter g to build a massive in entity would be a poor business move. As it is, the extended period of demand keeps Apple in the news, and few sales are lost as a result.

  4. “We have just one wish: That Apple would keep their eyes on all their current products and update them regularly. The company is large enough and rich enough to keep everything on the shelves fresh and… we lied, second wish: to never have 6+ week shipping delays on any new or existing products (see AirPods and the 8-Core Mac Pro for two current examples).”


    1. As someone on another thread observed, it might be possible that Apple is failing because it is too focused on a few existing products to the exclusion of diversification, or it might be possible that Apple is failing because it is too diverse and failing to focus on its key product lines. It cannot be the case that both accusations are true at the same time.

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