Apple’s newest iPhone will offer technology that lets it connect to satellites, allowing users to make calls and send messages when they’re out of range from a 4G or 5G network, according to a new analyst report.
TF International Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo said the new device will feature a customized Qualcomm chip that allows for low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communications, effectively making the next iPhone a satellite phone, according to a report seen by MacRumors.
The analyst said Qualcomm is teaming up with Globalstar on the chip, a customized version of Qualcomm X60 baseband chip.
Kuo added that the ‘simplest scenario’ to get connectivity would have network operators, such as AT&T or Verizon, work with Globalstar.
In this case, a customer of AT&T or Verizon would be able to use Globalstar’s service with no additional contract or payments.
At present, Globalstar has 48 LEO satellites in operation, according to Aerospace Technology.
It’s presently unclear if messages and calls over satellite would be available for iMessage and FaceTime or all forms of communication on the iPhone, 9to5Mac reported.
In addition to the technology potentially being a part of the next iPhone, Kuo said it could be a part of future Apple devices, including the oft-rumored augmented reality headset, Apple Car and other products.
Globalstar’s satellites pick up signals from over 80 percent of the Earth’s surface, using CDMA technology to antennas at the appropriate gateway, then signaled through local networks, according to the company’s website.
Apple is likely to announce the next iPhones in the first half of September.
The new devices are likely to have upgrades to both its photo and video taking capabilities and a smaller notch.
They are expected to retain the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 models, including 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch for the regular models and 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch for the Pro models.
The new iPhones are likely to be made of the same material as previous devices, something that may change with the 2022 iPhone model.