According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple has indeed worked on satellite communications for the iPhone 14 and has completed hardware tests for the feature ahead of mass production of smartphones.
He confirmed that smartphones have satellite hardware support, but whether the iPhone 14 will support satellite communication depends on “whether Apple and carriers can agree on a business model.” The iPhone 13 also has satellite hardware, but connectivity was not implemented because “the business model was not agreed upon.”
It’s hard to predict when the iPhone will offer satellite service, Kuo said, but it’s expected to happen “eventually.” Satellite communications are expected to be used for emergency text messages and voice services. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that iPhone users will be able to use satellite communications to report emergencies to authorities in areas without cell service and send short messages to contacts in case of an emergency.
Rumor has it that Apple is working with Globalstar. Kuo confirms this rumor. Satellite communications consultant Tim Ferrar also said on Friday that he expects Apple and Globalstar to launch a satellite communications feature for the iPhone 14.
Last week, T-Mobile and SpaceX announced plans to bring 5G smartphone connectivity anywhere in the United States using a satellite-to-cellular service.