- iPhone 13 may come with the low-earth-orbit satellite communication.
- LEO technology allows calls and texts even in low network areas.
- It is not clear if Apple would charge its users for this feature.
iPhone 12 introduced 5G connectivity to Apple’s iPhone lineup, and people have favoured it by showing a huge demand for 5G. While this year’s upcoming iPhone will definitely feature 5G with enhanced capabilities, Apple may add a new cellular radio technology to the iPhone 13. According to the renowned analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 may come with a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communication feature, which helps make calls and send SMS in an area with spotty network signals.
Kuo, in his investor note as seen by 9to5Mac, said that the LEO technology may be a big upgrade to how iPhones have dealt with cellular connectivity. It essentially allows the device to create satellite-based communication, even when it is outside of the standard 4G or 5G network range. Back in 2019, Bloomberg was the first one to report that Apple may use the LEO satellite communication mode on the iPhone for fast data transfer, but this is the first time we have heard about the feature likely to be implemented on the upcoming iPhone since then. Not only to the iPhone 13, but Apple may also introduce the LEO technology to the rumoured AR headset, Apple Car, and other Internet of Things products.
The LEO satellite communication feature will be possible because of the Qualcomm X60 baseband modem chip that will support communication over satellite through some sort of customisation in it. Although the LEO mode will allow the exchange of calls and texts, it is not clear at the moment if these two features will work with Apple services, such as iMessage and FaceTime, or if Apple may use proxy satellite communication to regular network towers to beam information to any device. Since this seems like a feature meant for emergencies, the latter makes more sense. There is also no information about whether Apple will charge its users for this service.
The iPhone 13, on the other hand, is going to be an incremental upgrade. In fact, some rumours suggest it may as well be called the iPhone 12S and not the iPhone 13, because of how Apple classifies its iPhone models each year. The iPhone 13 is rumoured to come with a small notch in its OLED display. There may be four models this time as well: the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The Pro models may come with 120Hz ProMotion LTPO OLED displays, which Samsung is manufacturing for Apple. The cameras on the iPhone 13 may bring more features and enhancements to the image quality, although these changes may not be so big. The iPhone 13 is also expected to come with the Apple A15 Bionic processor.