What you need to know
- Apple is working on technology to allow iPhones to communicate with satellites.
- The feature will be built into iMessage.
- It will allow users to communicate with emergency services and contacts.
Over the weekend, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple was working on a new technology that would allow the iPhone to communicate with satellites instead of a cellular network. While some were quick to dismiss the analyst, a new report from Bloomberg seems to agree with Kuo.
A new report from Mark Gurman at Bloomberg says that Apple is in fact working on technology that will allow the iPhone to communicate with satellites. The technology, which is not expected to launch in 2021, would be limited to emergency situations rather than a way to replace your cellular network.
According to the report, the technology would allow iPhone owners to text emergency services and contacts or report an emergency when there is no cellular service available. The feature is expected to be built directly into iMessage.
The feature would bring the iPhone on par with emergency satellite devices such as the Garmin inReach, which many people use to stay in contact with loved ones or report emergencies while out of service for cellular networks. While the iPhone won't replace such devices as they boast more adventure-related features, it would be a huge benefit to anyone that finds themselves outside of cell service and need to get in touch with someone in an emergency.
It's currently unclear if such a service would come in the form of a subscription that iPhone owners would pay monthly for or if users would be charged per message. It's also unclear exactly what emergency services would be tapped into and how much coverage such a feature would provide. The Garmin inReach, in comparison, hooks into a global network.
According to the report, it is unlikely that the feature will be included in the iPhone 13 which Apple is expected to announce and release this fall. Regardless of when it does come, and if it does, it would be a massive safety feature that would differentiate the iPhone from current Android phones in a big way.
Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.
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