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iPhone 13 will have built-in satellite comms, says noted Apple watcher

iPhone 13 will have built-in satellite comms, says noted Apple watcher
(Image credit: Let's Go Digital / Jermaine Smit (youtube.com/conceptcreator))

The iPhone 13 could have satellite communication built-in, letting you make calls even where you don't have mobile reception, according to one noted Apple analyst. Ming-Chi Kuo – who has a very good track record when it comes to iPhone predictions – says the iPhone 13 will feature a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communication mode, letting you make calls and send SMS without a 4G/5G connection, 9to5Mac reports.

However, according to Bloomberg, this feature will only be used to communicate with emergency services in times of crisis. Its sources also suggest the feature won't arrive until next year, so will be missing at the launch next month. 

The feature was first rumoured back in 2019, but this is the closest that we have to confirmation that it will be used in an Apple handset. It's not just the iPhone 13 either – Kuo reckons Apple could use the same tech in its upcoming augmented reality headset, Apple Car and other devices that make up the Internet of Things.

According to Kuo, it will be enabled by a customised version of Qualcomm's X60 baseband modem chip.

There's no word on whether satellite communications will be free to use or carry a charge. Hopefully Apple will reveal more details at the iPhone 13 launch next month. We're expecting the event to take place on 14th September – that's two weeks today. While the iPhone 13 range is expected to largely resemble the iPhone 12 family, it should come with 120Hz screens and upgraded cameras, among other changes.

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.