Apple plans to add satellite communication features to iPhones for emergencies

Apple’s push to bring satellite capabilities to the iPhone will be focused on emergency situations, allowing users located in areas without cellular coverage to send texts to first responders and report crashes.

Boeing 702X satellite (image: Boeing)
Boeing 702X satellite (image: Boeing)

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

The company is developing at least two related emergency features that will rely on satellite networks, aiming to release them in future iPhones, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Speculation that the next iPhone will have satellite capabilities ramped up this week after TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the phone will probably work with spectrum owned by Globalstar Inc.

That’s led to conjecture that the iPhone will become something akin to a satellite phone, freeing users from having to rely on cell networks. But Apple’s plan is initially more limited in scope, according to the person, with the focus on helping customers handle crisis scenarios.

And though the next iPhone could have the hardware needed for satellite communications, the features are unlikely to be ready before next year, said another person, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t yet public. The features could also change or be scrapped before they’re released.

MacDailyNews Take: So, no, this is not going to turn your iPhone into a “satellite phone,” but it will still be a useful feature for certain users, including those in Government & Public Safety, Transportation, Energy, Construction, Maritime, Agriculture, Forestry, etc.

1 Comment

  1. OR this could all be a way for Tim to track leaks within the organization … a faux feature shared with only a small number of ‘monitored’ team members … some careers can be shorter than others …

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