Apple was once known for pushing the boundaries of innovation and with the iPhone 13, they might be going well beyond the call of duty with this newly leaked feature:
Reportedly, Apple plans to connect their iPhone directly to communication satellites when in an emergency. This functionality will use satellite networks to communicate with emergency contacts and the authorities.
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Only A Leak
According to a report by Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, the upcoming iPhone 13 “might” have the related electronics to allow satellite functionality:
Apple is using a Qualcomm X60 baseband chip in their iPhone 13, this has the ability to directly establish contact with satellites in low Earth orbit. An interesting fact about the Qualcomm X60 baseband chip is that it is the same chipset that is the backbone of SpaceX’s Star link program.
For those of you unfamiliar with Star Link, it is quite possibly the most futuristic communication technology being developed at present. Star Link is an internet service by SpaceX, which uses a constellation of satellites in low earth orbit to beam down the internet to users.
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Apple’s Satellite Scope
The functionality Apple has in mind is currently very limited in scope and doesn’t go beyond providing emergency services. So, for those of you thinking that cell towers might become a thing of the past, sadly we haven’t come that far yet.
What’s been leaked so far:
- The service will be called Emergency Message via Satellite.
- The project is called Stewie internally at Apple.
- It allows users to text emergency services directly and their emergency contacts even when there is no cell service in the area.
- This functionality will be part of the message application along with regular SMS and iMessage.
- Messages that come through this service will show in gray as opposed to the regular green or blue message bubbles.
- The emergency texts will alert your emergency contact, even if there do no disturb setting is on.
Initially, the service will be focusing on text messages, but there are plans to expand the functionality to include phone calls as well.
A Life Saving Service
This service could prove to be an actual lifesaver in many situations. Usually, when accidents happen in areas without cell coverage, it can be really hard to contact anyone for help.
A great example is when hikers get lost or injured in remote mountain regions. This service would enable such users to contact people even in areas without cell or internet coverage via towers.
According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will probably be using the spectrum owned by Globalstar Inc. Globalstar is a US-based satellite company that provides a variety of satellite-based communication solutions. And if this leaked information is accurate, it appears Apple is paving the way towards a new era of communications during emergencies.