Apple in talks to form partnership with Boeing to provide broadband access via constellation of 3,000 satellites

“Boeing already has a plan to develop, launch and operate a constellation of 3,000 satellites in low Earth orbit. Apple is reportedly in talks with Boeing to be an investor-partner in the project,” Gillian Rich reports for Investors’ Business Daily. “With Apple on board, hundred-year-old Boeing could beat out the likes of Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the race to create a new internet in space and capture hundreds of billions of dollars. In the process, Boeing also could upend the telecom market and enable emerging technologies, ranging from smart devices to self-driving cars, that are expected to send the appetite for spectrum soaring.”

MacDailyNews Take: Real competition in broadband providers is desperately needed in many parts of the U.S. and the world.

“At first glance, the satellite business may seem like a stretch for Apple. But consider that the company has sold more than a billion iPhones globally, sometimes with troublesome connections, and is looking at opportunities further afield such as mobile payments and autonomous driving, which will rely on access to robust, widespread wireless capabilities,” Rich reports. “Boeing won’t comment on a possible Apple collaboration, but Bloomberg reported in April that Apple hired two Google satellite executives for a new hardware team.”

“While existing satellite-based connections are often slower than land-based ones, Boeing, SpaceX and others plan to offer improved speeds by putting satellites at altitudes of less than 1,000 miles vs. more than 20,000, and create overlapping coverage with their massive fleets,” Rich reports. “[The plan] could be key to Boeing’s long-term future as the era of the space-based internet approaches and looks to eclipse the land-based internet.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote in April, “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!‘”

Apple is interested in space satellites for the same reason they design their own chips and build their own operating systems:

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

Apple + satellites = ? – April 22, 2017
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
Apple adds former Boeing CFO James Bell to Board of Directors – October 1, 2015


  1. Kinda blows my mind that a battery operated thing I hold in my hand has enough power to transmit 1000 miles into space…. I have a hard enough time reaching my stupid WiFi router in the next room !!!

    1. Actually, we amateur radio operators have been doing similar things for over 40 years. The big challenges are:

      (1) Doing it on half a watt of transmitter power or less; and
      (2) switching between satellites seamlessly.

      Neither problem should, given the current state of the art, be terribly difficult to overcome.

  2. Imagine having the Apple logo in the upperleft corner of your iDevice: Apple as a MVNO.
    Imagine having internet connection everywhere! In rural regions, in middle of the ocean, etc. No roaming costs.
    Imagine the new usecases that will bring.

    1. Except that it won’t be a “virtual” network (which is where the “V” in “MVNO” comes from), but a real, high-capacity, reachable-virtually-anywhere (above ground) network.

  3. I’d be happy to see an Apple/Boeing partnership take place if this story is indeed legitimate. Apple should be more than capable of funding such an ambitious project with Boeing. Apple needs to get some sort of advantage because as of now the company is said to be lacking in nearly everything. The company is too easy to downgrade for any reason at all.

    1. TC has greater skill in business partnering…this news and IBM success for starters. I hope things don’t become too diluted…which was Steve’s focus when he returned. School me please; MDN statement ‘They’re baaack!‘” means?

  4. And don’t forget, in addition to their own chips and OS(s), provide their own energy. When you put this all together with a reliable communications network, the big picture comes into closer focus re MDN’s take on this. Apple is an energy company, registered with FEC. Silicon, hardware, software, communications, energy…Wow!

  5. Right now there are 2,271 satellites in orbit. If Apple, Goole, Amazon, Alibaba, Tesla, Baidu and Microsoft each have 3000 satellites, things are going to get awfully crowded up there!

  6. Broadband via satellites.


    1) Aircraft are in constant motion. Therefore, dishes have to be in motion as well, focused on the desired satellite.

    2) How to both send and receive via satellite, again while in motion.

    New challenges for The Future!

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