iPhone 13 targets satellite connectivity

Photo: EPA

Apple is just about to unveil a revolutionary model of its iPhone. If the technological conglomerate keeps its schedule for introducing new models, the audience may see it in just a few weeks with the premiere of the iPhone 13. Strong signals suggest that the new edition of the Apple flagship could have a built in potential for satellite connectivity, The Verge reported.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors that iPhone 13 will be able to connect directly to low Earth orbit or LEO satellites thanks to a customized Qualcomm X60 baseband chip. LEO satellites are probably best known as the backbone of Starlink internet service which relies on satellites in a lower orbit to beam internet down to customers and avoid some of the common pitfalls of satellite internet, including high latency, and common blackouts. But Starlink is not the only company which uses LEO satellites for connectivity. Hughesnet and OneWeb combined forces to roll out a competitor to Starlink and Immarsat announced a new constellation intended to blend with terrestrial 5G networks for a more global solution. More crucial for this iPhone rumor is Globalstar, which saw its stock skyrocket earlier this year when Qualcomm announced its upcoming X65 chip would support Globalstar’s Band n53 tech. 3GPP had previously approved Band n53 as a 5G band.

If confirmed, the X60 would likely be supporting another element of 5G, which is currently comprised of a whole mix of technologies, including the ultrafast but limited range millimeter-wave and the more widespread, but slower C-Band. LEO 5G would provide support in places that don’t yet have towers beaming down the other forms of 5G speed - particularly useful in many rural areas that often struggle to get 3G or 4G connectivity.

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