Apple is said to be working on satellite technology after a new Bloomberg report hired a number of aerospace engineers along with satellite and antenna designers. The report notes that this is an early-stage secret project that could still be discarded, but the purpose of the team and its work is to potentially develop communications satellite technology that sends data directly to user devices, including the iPhone and can be received. with the goal of connecting Apple devices without a third-party network.
Bloomberg explains that Apple will not necessarily build its own satellite hardware – instead, it could only develop transmission devices or ground-based devices to use data transfers for orbital communication devices. The technology could be used to actually deliver data directly to Apple devices, or it could simply connect them to each other independently of a cellular network. It could also be used to provide more accurate location services for better maps and guides, the report said.
Apple is said to have hired executives and engineers from the aerospace and satellite industries, including Skybox Imaging alumni Michael Trela and John Fenwick, who lead the team. These two previously headed Google's satellite and spacecraft division. New hires include former Aerospace Corporation CEO Ashley Moore Williams and key individuals from the wireless networking and content delivery networking industry.
The idea of transferring a data network from space directly to devices appears absurd – most data communication satellites require communication with ground stations, which then forward information with end devices. However, it's not an unknown concept, and in fact, earlier this year, we wrote about Ubiquitilink (now Lynk), a company that focuses on building a new type of low-Earth orbit satellite constellation that can communicate directly with phones.
Lynk's original goals outline what an additional direct satellite communications network could offer in addition to the regular iPhone network operator service: The startup hopes to essentially offer global roaming with a connection level that is unlikely to be nearly as fast as you. & # 39; d come from a ground-based network, but can at least be used for communication – and are not dependent on the local infrastructure. It can also act as a redundant fallback that, regardless of your main network status, ensures that you can perform less and less data-intensive operations, such as: B. SMS and calls.
Although there are obviously still a lot of unknowns about what Apple is working on or what it will ultimately be, it is very interesting to consider the possibility that it offers constantly available connectivity that is bundled with iPhones and so on available when your primary network doesn't have permanent access to features like iMessage, voice calls, and navigation – streaming and other data-intensive applications are up to your standard plan.