Finally, an iPhone 13 rumor that’s entertaining! I believe that we’re just weeks away from seeing the next iPhone from Apple, but until now there have been few rumors to speak of and they’ve been a bit dull. The iPhone 13 could come with a built-in satellite phone, according to prominent Apple prognosticator and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, according to a report from MacRumors.
A specialized Qualcomm X60 baseband chip, Kuo alleges in an investor note, will allow the iPhone 13 to link directly to low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. They’re arguably best known as the backbone of Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service, which relies on low-earth orbit satellites for internet transmission, avoiding some of the traditional drawbacks of satellite internet, such as excessive latency and frequent outages.
Despite this, Starlink is not the only corporation that relies on LEO satellites to provide internet access to customers. Immarsat revealed a new constellation designed to work with terrestrial 5G networks for a more global solution, while Hughesnet and OneWeb have joined forces to launch a competitor to Starlink. Globalstar, whose stock skyrocketed earlier this year when Qualcomm said its upcoming X65 chip would support Globalstar’s Band n53 technology, is more key to this iPhone speculation. Band n53 had been approved as a 5G band by the 3GPP in the past.
According to this speculation, the X60 would enable another portion of 5G, which currently consists of a variety of technologies, including the ultrafast but restricted range millimeter-wave and the more widespread, but slower C-Band.. These towers would beam down the other 5G speeds, which would be especially handy in rural areas, where 3G and 4G coverage is often difficult to come by.
However, it is still unclear how this may affect battery life. There’s also the issue of trees to consider. I’m hoping that the iPhone 13’s X60 processor won’t be as susceptible to interference from trees as Starlink’s Dishy McFlatface.