iPhone 13 Launch: Satellite Communication Feature Won’t Be Available Everywhere

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In the previous week, Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple analyst, told the media that Apple will support LEO satellite communications with the launch of the iPhone 13. But there is a catch. Though the iPhone 13 series will bring many serious upgrades on its launch. The final aesthetics of the device are expected to be the same, but we can possibly witness Android flagships and feature 120Hz ProMotion displays among other advanced modules for the camera plus a smaller notch. However, while the internet stirred up after Ming-Chi Kuo revealed the news about satellite communications feature a week before, now Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that this feature of iPhone 13 won’t be available everywhere. Mark Gunman, in his Power On newsletter, revealed that the satellite communication feature will only work in those areas with no cellular coverage in select markets all over the globe.

According to him, Apple is planning to extend its own assemblage of satellites to “beam data to devices”, but the plan might take more time to come into action than expected. Gunman tells us, “the emergency features will only work in areas without any cellular coverage and only in select markets. Apple envisions eventually deploying its own array of satellites to beam data to devices, but that plan is likely years away from taking off.” While some say that this feature is only made for emergency situations, a new report suggests otherwise. According to it, the LEO satellite communication system will be available on iPhone 13 models only in select markets. Mark Gunman’s Power On further elaborates that Apple has intended to introduce this new feature for select markets only in iPhone 13.

iPhone 13 Launch Satellite Communication Feature Won't Be Available Everywhere

If you are not aware of this feature we are talking about, the LEO satellite communication system allows users to send messages and make calls without needing any network. So that’s why this feature can come in handy in remote locations that have network shortages. But Apple says that it will be launched in select areas only. Gunman adds that the tech giant might not allow iPhone users to make calls in the absence of cellular coverage. People question whether this LEO satellite communication feature would allow users to make free phone calls so as not to rely on cellular data plans or in poorly provided cellular reception areas, to which he responds by stating, “Some have asked me if these new features mean that the iPhone can be used as a satellite phone and have the ability to make calls anywhere in the world without cellular coverage.

The answer is a big no. That’s not happening now, next year, or anytime in the near future.” He also tells us that the iPhone 13 device will contain brand new hardware for satellite communication which is been currently working on. Moreover, the new feature can prove to be expensive and probably can get lobbied against by phone carriers. Inside reports have told that the iPhone 13 user will need to be outside and wait for up to a minute or two to catch a signal from a satellite. To launch this feature, Apple would require a lot of hardware that is still in progress. Plus Gunman says that the satellite feature will prove to be rather expensive and could cause an objection from the phone carriers that Apple relies on.

Apple iPhone 13 Satellite Communication Feature

The Bloomberg report last week stated that Apple is currently working on two approaches, the first one being transmitting short emergency texts, and secondly, sending SOS distress signals for emergencies such as sinking ships or plane crashes in remote areas. “Apple will eventually integrate emergency satellite messaging into the Messages app, which will help its users to contact emergency services and close friends without any network signal. Emergency messages will be appearing in form of grey bubbles, merging with the traditional iMessage blue and SMS green. Phone calls may eventually be supported as well,” the Bloomberg newsletter explains. To connect to a satellite, the iPhone 13 user is needed to be outdoors and would require around one minute to get the signal. Apple will most probably launch the iPhone 13 version at a media event this month.

Some reports speculate that the company might offer its users an early sneak peek of the satellite features that we’re talking about. Mark Gunman’s Power On further elaborates that Apple has intended to introduce this new feature for select markets only in iPhone 13. To add to that, the tech giant will need several perfect carriers to be upset with the company for selling its devices like this. Gurman explains that the company can also apparently integrate emergency satellite messaging into the iMessage app and allow its users to connect to friends in emergencies without necessarily having a cellular signal. These satellite messages will pop priorly as grey bubbles along with the blue and green ones that Apple users have already seen.

Apple Satellite Communication Feature

However, India might not be on the list of countries that will be getting the iPhone 13’s satellite communication feature. This is because the Indian Department of Telecommunications has prohibited the use of satellite phones in the whole country after the devastating terrorist attack that occurred on 26/11 in Mumbai on Hotel Taj. So satellite phones are banned in India, and if anyone is found possessing an unauthorized satellite phone, it will come under the state security matter which may lead to an extensive investigation and the person can end up in jail for three years along with/or a fine of Rs 1,000. Only the satellite phones that have been granted special permission or NOC by the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India, or as provisioned by BSNL following a license granted to BSNL for provision and operation of satellite-based service using Gateway installed in India can be allowed in India.

Apple’s iPhone 13 launch is scheduled to be in September 2021 alongside the company’s new Watch Series 7. According to reports, both the devices are facing some production issues of their own. Today, Apple has sent out invites for its launch event to be held on September 13, whose title is “California Streaming”. The company has not clarified what to expect in the event, but typically it will be the iPhone 13 series launch from Apple Park. At this time every year, Apple launches new iPhones in the market and it hasn’t disappointed now too. The event is scheduled to be on September 13 at 10 am PDT, or 10.30 pm IST. The last event from Apple was in April titled “Spring Loaded” where the tech giant launched the new iPad Pro lineup. So with the upcoming event, we can expect new iPhones along with the brand new Apple Watch Series 7 unveiling, and the AirPods 3.

iPhone 13 Satellite Communication Feature

Some rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 will have improved battery power, but users are concerned that the company might be influenced by the global chip shortage just like its other competitors, resulting in a supply shortage. As the history of Apple launches from previous years tells us, the iPhone 13 unveiling will come along with a release date of iOS 15. There might be a few design changes for the next-gen Apple Watch. Bloomberg the newsletter has also suggested that the watch won’t bring health upgrades this year, but instead focus on flat edges and advanced display along with a new chip. 

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