Apple: What Ming-Chi Kuo said about the iPhone 13 and near earth orbit

From AppleInsider's "iPhone 13 will support satellite communications, says Ming-Chi Kuo" posted Sunday:

In a note to investors, seen by AppleInsider Ming-Chi Kuo says that the Qualcomm X60 baseband chip that Apple is predicted to be using in the "iPhone 13" will support low-earth orbit satellite communications. He bases this on Qualcomm's work with Globalstar, making the latter the most likely partner for the effort.

"There are many potential scenarios for Apple's business model cooperation with Globalstar," writes Kuo. "The simplest scenario is that if the user's operator has already teamed with Globalstar, the user can directly use Globalstar's satellite communication service on the iPhone 13 through the operator's service."

If the report is accurate, it won't be the first smartphone to support satellite communications, but it will be the first mainstream model to do so. Kuo says that other vendors that want satellite communications functions will have to wait a year until some point in 2022, and will have to use the forthcoming X65 baseband chip.

Kuo also believes that this is just Apple's first foray into the technology. The inclusion in the "iPhone 13" is said to "innovative user experiences that can be integrated with new products." Specifically, Kuo notes that an Apple head-mounted display or Apple Car would be enhanced by the integration of satellite technology in conjunction with millimeter-wave 5G wireless networking.

My take: We've come a long way from Gordon Gekko. If true.

9 Comments

  1. Mark Visnic said:
    Apple’s optionality. This is what almost every AAPL analyst misses.

    When Rod Hall understands and realizes he has to raise AAPL to “buy” it will be a great day for Apple shareholders and a sad day at once.

    2
    August 30, 2021
  2. Several years ago I read how the electronics that power SiriusXM satellite radio sets was condensed to a chipset. The ´shark fin’ signal antenna was equally diminished. It was done for intégration with an Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH).

    2
    August 30, 2021
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    I don’t see it. If that market was large enough someone else would have already done it. If it were big enough there’d be cell towers out there.

    I seriously doubt Apple is going to put that capability in every iPhone (unnecessary expense for an unused feature. Making a special mode would be even more expensive due to lack of scale.

    Nope, not going to happen, not with iPhone.

    1
    August 30, 2021
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    God is great! Property always can be replaced and often is replaced. Family and friends cannot be replaced. In the midst of these natural disasters such as happened this past weekend in Louisiana and Mississippi from Ms. Ida and now too often annually along with earthquakes, fires, tornados, etc. it ever more becomes apparent good communication is the difference between life and death. Who would not want a smartphone capable of satellite communication? This new phone feature, if proven true, is a compelling reason to upgrade; even for individuals who purchased recently the iPhone 12. I will be the first in line for a new iPhone, if satellite communication is a new iPhone 13 feature.

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    August 30, 2021
  5. Kemble Widmer said:
    I and many other search and rescue folks as well as hikers, backpackers, river runners, climbers, hunters, boaters, yachting etc. etc. pay $12-80 per month for service and ~ $200 – $300 for our Garmin inreach (or similar) devices to enable connectivity when beyond the reach of cell towers. This functionality would render all that mute. I am typically a once every 5 year upgrader but would upgrade from 12 mini to the 13 in a nanosecond if it has this functionality…….. as would most others with a current sat device like the Garmin which saves hundreds of lives per year in the backcountry, and is becoming ubiquitous in the packs of outdoors and marine people.

    1
    August 30, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      @Kemble this is exactly the target audience that would consider a switch from Garmin to iPhone. What is a much larger user group is the more casual or business user who might like Satellite capability while traveling to remote areas, on the ocean, in the air (maybe) or foreign countries where they wouldn’t always want to use/purchase local SIMs or phones, or simply want to bypass using local networks for whatever reason.

      IMO, it could be an interesting differentiation point that mainstream smartphones don’t currently offer.

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      August 30, 2021
  6. Steven Philips said:
    How will this sit with foreign governments that want/need to control the internet within their borders? Could it lead to a ban on those phones?

    1
    August 30, 2021
    • Bart Yee said:
      Good question. They could possibly restrict internet access while allowing the call and GPS capability, iMessage or texting could be a problem if it is on a completely different network that is not under governmental control.

      0
      August 30, 2021

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