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A future Apple Watch is thought to be getting satellite communication tech, not just iPhone 14

iPhone call
iPhone call (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A future Apple Watch is now rumored to be on course to gain satellite communication technology.
  • Similar technology has already been rumored for this year's iPhone 14 launch.
  • The satellite capabilities would be used to send emergency messages when out of cell tower coverage.

A future Apple Watch is set to gain the same satellite communication capabilities as are rumored to be coming to this year's iPhone 14, according to a new report. While the feature won't allow satellite calls as such, it'll be designed for emergency use instead.

Rumors of an iPhone getting satellite functionality swirled before the iPhone 13 was announced and we're hearing all about it for the upcoming iPhone 14, too. Now, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, writing in the weekly Power On newsletter, says the same functionality is also penciled in for a future Apple Watch. Whether it will debut in this year's Apple Watch Series 8 remains to be seen.

Since reporting that the iPhone is gaining the feature, I've heard that the Apple Watch is also destined to get that functionality—either this year or in 2023. Whether it's on the iPhone or Apple Watch, the technology would provide an alternative to the Garmin inReach Explorer and SPOT, handheld satellite communicators with similar features.

Those similar features would include being able to send short emergency text messages when out of range of cellular signals, for example.

It should be noted that Apple is thought to have signed a deal with Globalstar, a company that has already bought 17 new satellites to help with an unnamed client that will require "continuous satellite services." It's thought that client is indeed Apple as it readies itself for the iPhone 14 and future Apple Watch requirement of satellites to talk to.

It isn't yet clear if this year's Apple Watch Series 8 will benefit from this new technology, although talk of a "ruggedized" Apple watch would potentially marry will with technology designed to help if you get lost at the top of a mountain. Such a feature would undoubtedly make it the best Apple Watch for explorers!

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.