It looks like Apple may announce its long-rumored satellite connectivity feature for the iPhone 14 (opens in new tab) on September 7, according to Tim Farrar (opens in new tab), a satellite communications consultant at California-based research firm Telecom, Media and Finance Associates.
Importantly, Apple will be using existing satellite spectrum, with no need for any rule changes from the FCC. However, the service will be limited just to two-way texting - no voice calls or photos unless they invest in a new multi-billion dollar constellation (5/n)August 26, 2022
The “Far Out" tagline and starry sky artwork used on the launch event invites - which is to be held on September 7 at the Steve Jobs Theater – has fueled speculation about Apple equipping the iPhone14 with satellite connectivity.
The comments from Farrar, made on Twitter about the possibility of Apple announcing its long-rumored satellite connectivity feature for the iPhone 14, were made after he said that the announcement made by T-Mobile and SpaceX regarding their new US "satellite-to-cellular" service, was likely made to pre-empt Apple's announcement of its own satellite connectivity feature. Indeed, this who got their first grapple amongst smartphone manufacturers is commonplace and this theory holds some weight.
It’s believed that Apple will run its satellite connectivity feature in partnership with Globalstar (opens in new tab), who in February announced that they had acquired 17 new satellites to provide "continuous satellite services" to a "potential customer," thought to be Apple but undisclosed.
In his series of tweets, Farrar said Apple's service will consist of two-way text messaging only at launch and will be offered free of charge. Furthermore, it’s expected that the satellite connectivity feature will use existing satellite spectrum, meaning no rule changes from the FCC will be required required. This is in stark contrast to T-Mobile and SpaceX’s plan to use T-Mobile's mid-band 5G spectrum and support SMS text messages, MMS, and some messaging apps. Farrar, sensibly, said this approach will face regulatory battles worldwide.
As the iPhone 14 will launch on 7 September there isn’t long at all to wait to see if we are welcoming a new era in Apple satellite connectivity, or simply the new flagship family of phones.
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