Apple will bring satellite connectivity to the iPhone 14 / Pro series

Tim Farrar, a satellite communication consultant at Telecom, Media and Finance Associates, a US research firm, said that Apple will announce its long-rumored iPhone 14 satellite connection feature next month.

Apple will hold a media event at the Steve Jobs Theater on September 7, and the event claims that the "Far Out" and star art background used in the slogan are likely to suggest satellite-related features.

Farrar tweeted that yesterday's satellite connectivity announcements from T-Mobile and SpaceX were likely to preempt Apple's announcement of a partnership with Globalstar to launch its own iPhone satellite connectivity feature.

In February of this year, Globalstar announced that they had purchased 17 new satellites in order to provide "continuous satellite service" to "potential customers".

Apple's satellite communications service will only offer free two-way texting at launch, Farrar said, and will use existing satellite spectrum, bypassing FCC rules.

By contrast, T-Mobile and SpaceX plan to tap T-Mobile's mid-band 5G spectrum and support SMS text messaging, MMS, and select messaging apps, so Farrar thinks the harder approach will face global regulatory hurdles.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman first reported in December 2019 that Apple was working on a satellite connectivity service for the iPhone, but it didn't appear in the iPhone 13 series.

Earlier this year, Gurman said Apple was still working on the feature and said it could be ready for the iPhone 14 later this year.

Gurman claims the feature is intended for use in "emergency situations," allowing iPhone users to alert authorities and send text messages to emergency contacts, adding that the feature is also available on the new Apple Watch.

Gurman said the iPhone requires a special modem chip to connect to the satellite, suggesting the feature may only be compatible with the iPhone 14 and newer. By contrast, T-Mobile said the "vast majority of smartphones" already on its network will be able to connect to SpaceX's satellites using its existing cellular chips.

Other details about Apple's rumored satellite connectivity feature, such as whether the feature will be available only in a small number of markets such as the United States, or rolled out to users worldwide, are still unknown, and we'll follow up on everything from Apple's launch event. Fully based, stay tuned.

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