Well-known industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage.
Kuo made the comment in a note to investors, shared by MacRumors. Kuo explains that the iPhone 13 lineup will boast hardware that allows connecting to LEO satellites, allowing users of the device to make calls and send messages without a 4G or 5G cellular connection.
The new iPhone 13 will reportedly feature a custom Qualcomm X60 baseband chip supporting satellite communications. Other smartphone makers are reportedly holding off until 2022 to use the X65 baseband chip necessary to implement satellite communications functions.
Globalstar is expected to be the LEO satellite communication service provider that is “most likely to cooperate with Apple in terms of technology and service coverage.” Qualcomm is said to have been working with Globalstar to support the n53 band in future X65 baseband chips.
Kuo says LEO satellite communications is a technology comparable to mmWave 5G in terms of its impact on the network industry and that Apple may leverage both technologies.