Finally a nice iPhone 13 rumor! If Apple sticks to its traditional schedule, we’ll be just weeks away from a new iPhone, and so far the rumors have been small and, dare I say, dull. But well-known Apple forecaster and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is now claiming that the iPhone 13 could have the ability to have built-in satellite calls, according to MacRumors.
In a note to investors, Kuo claims that the iPhone 13 can connect directly to low-Earth orbit satellites (or LEO) thanks to a modified Qualcomm X60 baseband chip. LEO satellites are probably best known as the backbone of Elon Musks’ Starlink Internet service, which relies on lower-orbit satellites to beam internet to customers and avoid some of the common pitfalls of satellite internet, including high latency and common blackouts.
But Starlink isn’t the only company using LEO satellites for connectivity. Hughesnet and OneWeb have joined forces to roll out a competitor to Starlink and Immarsat announced a new zodiac sign intended to blend with 5G terrestrial networks for a more global solution. Crucial to this iPhone rumor is Globalstar, that saw his stock skyrocket earlier this year when Qualcomm announced that its upcoming X65 chip would support Globalstar’s Band n53 technology. 3GPP had previously approved Band n53 as a 5G band.
If this rumor is true, the X60 would likely support another element of 5G, which currently consists of a whole mix of technologies, including the ultra-fast but limited millimeter wave and the more widespread but slower C-Band. LEO 5G would provide support in places where there aren’t yet towers radiating down the other forms of 5G speed, especially useful in many rural areas that often struggle to get 3G or 4G connectivity.
What that means for battery life remains to be seen. There is also the boom factor. Hopefully, the X60 chip in the iPhone 13 isn’t as prone to tree interference as Starlink’s Dishy McFlatface.