Apple has a group working on space satellites, antennae, and wireless technology as the company looks for new ways to beam data directly to Apple devices.
If Apple commercializes the technology, at least one analyst believes the result “could have some pretty serious implications” for the world’s telecom operators.
Roughly a dozen Apple employees, led by former aerospace engineers Michael Trela and John Fenwick, are working on the project, and that they report to an executive under Dan Riccio, Apple’s SVP of hardware engineering, who oversees the company’s iPhone hardware. Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst with Wall Street research firm Wells Fargo, pointed out that the project would allow Apple to “essentially bypass carriers and towers which service them.”
Of course, there’s no guarantee that Apple will commercialize the technology, nor is it clear exactly how Apple might make use of satellite Internet connections… Companies like Iridium and Globalstar have struggled for years to grow their satellite Internet businesses, while a new crop of players ranging from Facebook to Amazon to SpaceX to OneWeb are in the early stages of deploying thousands of tiny, low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites that are intended to offer much faster and cheaper satellite-based Internet services than previous offerings. For example, OneWeb reported last year that it was able to clock speeds of 400Mbit/s with latency of 32 ms from its initial batch of LEO satellites…
In the meantime, it’s clear that Apple isn’t eschewing 5G completely. The company is widely expected to release 5G-capable iPhones later this year.
MacDailyNews Take: Yes, so there’s no “sidestepping” 5G, but satellites could someday be an avenue for connectivity. As we wrote last month: If this is a way to provide internet connectivity to iPhones sans carriers or even just a way to deliver Messages, Maps/GPS data, and/or Apple TV+ – or even just filling coverage gaps around the globe – without the ISP middleman, it would certainly be a defining, distinctive, nearly impossible-to-replicate feature that would set Apple products even further above the knockoff brigade’s raft of inferior facsimiles. And, of course, real competition in broadband providers is desperately needed in many parts of the U.S. and the world.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ladd” for the heads up.]