Smartphones today became quite just phones, with fewer people using them for actual calls. But, of course, folks will always use these devices as communication endpoints, and people are more hooked on cellular network coverage than the other smartphone functionality. It is, however, still possible to form calls without a cell signal, which could be one among the iPhone 13’s selling features because of its rumored support for low-earth orbit or LEO satellite communications.
Phone calls, even those made through traditional landlines, work almost like magic. The method involves tons of technologies that are sometimes so precariously connected that a drag during a single node can take the entire network down. There are, however, some alternative communication networks that don’t believe cellular signals, like those using LEO satellites.
The famed Ming-chi Kuo predicts that this is often exactly what the iPhone 13 will bring back the mainstream communication market. This may be because of a modification that Apple is predicted to try with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 modem. While there are often many LEO satellite communication support applications, the foremost immediate will probably be making calls and sending messages without cellular network coverage.
Of course, this technology isn’t new, but it isn’t exactly easily available within the consumer market. Most satellite phones are large bricks with equally large antennas, so an iPhone 13 with similar functionality will be truly groundbreaking. Kuo does say, however, that such a function could be available within the Qualcomm Snapdragon X65 baseband chip next year.
The analyst expects Apple to partner with Globalstar, one of the most important names in this field, to supply satellite communication support. However, Kuo also believes that this is often just the tip of the iceberg, as LEO satellite communication could also find its way into Apple’s AR headset, smart car, and other future IoT products.