Apple looks into beaming data to iPhones from satellites, report claims

Sunday, 22 Dec, 2019

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has reportedly made this project a top priority.

Apple has about a dozen engineers working on a project involving satellites and wireless technology, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Bloomberg indicated Apple may be trying to deliver data to user devices, circumventing traditional wireless carriers, or looking to satellites for more accurate location tracking to improve maps or new functions on Apple devices. Take for instance Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin.

Both companies plan a staggered rollout for swarms of thousands of satellites in orbit, which has astronomers a bit concerned about the implications for space visibility. However, the industry is littered with failures. "Iridium filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999, and Teledesic left its" Web from the skies" program over a decade past.

Still, many analysts and observers say that Apple's entry into the young satellite internet market will be sure to stimulate the contest, influencing each corporation's next moves with a renewed potency.

"The lessons of prior failures like Iridium, Globalstar and Teledesic are that it's really hard to find a viable business plan for multibillion-dollar satellite communications projects", said Tim Farrar, a satellite expert and principal at TMF associates. The company has also hired additional executives from the aerospace and wireless data delivery fields.

Former heads of Google's satellite and spacecraft operations Michael Trela and John Fenwick appear to be leading the project's team.

During their first 18 months at Apple, Trela and Fenwick investigated the possibility of creating satellite innovation and understanding the issue they need to comprehend, and lately have begun heightening work on the task. After joining Apple, they reported to Greg Duffy - who ended up leaving Apple in June 2019 to launch The Duffy Organization.

In fact, the use of satellite communication services is not uncommon nowadays.

When it's not pouring $250 million into making better glass for iPhone, Apple is busy exploring more daring ideas in its labs. SpaceX is close to rolling out its Starlink broadband satellites, and Amazon is also scrambling to get approvals for its Kuiper System alternative. Ellis is said to have experience in building networks that can beam content and information on a global scale.

It's hard to tell if the project will come to fruition nor what Apple really intends to do with its satellites, but it's an interesting piece of news nonetheless. Over the years, we've heard of Apple Cars, Apple AR Headsets - you name it. The company is also rumored to be developing silicon that would replace Intel CPUs in its Mac products, for example, and it is attempting to develop its own cellular modems to include future iPhones. They report to the Apple iPhone engineering chief.