(Pocket-lint) - In one of the more surprising future iPhone rumours we've ever heard, a new report now claims that Apple may very well be launching a revolutionary feature in this years device that'll allow users to make phone calls and send and receive text messages - even if you're lost in the middle of the woods and have absolutely no cell signal whatsoever.
How does the Cupertino company plan on making this possible? Satellites. And not just any satellites, these are LEO satellites, meaning that as opposed to traditional geostationary satellites - devices that take 24 hours to orbit earth, low earth satellites (LEO) only need about an hour or two hour to complete a full rotation (aka orbital period) around our planet.
This means that with a network of enough of them floating around earth, there'd be no location in the entire world where you couldn't maintain a signal with one.
Now while normally we might dismiss such an ostensibly asinine, out of left field rumour, the report comes from the highly accurate mouth of Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with an over 75 per cent accuracy record when it comes on his predictions on upcoming Apple products, according to AppleTrack.
You may have heard of LEO satellites before from Elon Musk, whose SpaceX company is overseeing Starlink, a commercial project of LEO units that Musk hopes he can one day sell access to all across the world. At the moment, Starlink is available to test in a small public beta for people located in the northern United States and Canada.
Apple, however, will not be using Starlink's fleet of satellites to accomplish their goal of texting even if you're stuck in the middle of the ocean, but instead most likely collaborate with Globalstar, a company that has reportedly already been working closely with Apple's modem maker, Qualcomm, to develop the necessary technologies to allow a mobile device to communicate properly with LEO satellites.
Qualcomm was originally scheduled to be releasing LEO compatible modems on their 2022 X65 chips, however, Kuo claims that instead of waiting, Apple has instead ordered a custom X60 chip from the company which features specially equipped LEO compatibility.
For a roundup of all the other iPhone 13 features and rumours we've heard about, check out everything we’ve collected together right here.
Writing by Alex Allegro. Originally published on 30 August 2021.