Now Apple Watch may get satellite communications, not just iPhone

in Apple Watch
Rumors of satellite comms coming to the iPhone have resurfaced, along with a new claim that Apple Watch could get this ability too.

Previously, it was rumored that the then-forthcoming iPhone 13 would include satellite connectivity, shortly before it was rumored that it would not. Satellite communications would mean that an iPhone user could call for help in emergencies, even when outside regular cell coverage.

Now Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman claims that the feature is coming to the 2022 or 2023 iPhone -- and Apple Watch.

"Whether it's on the iPhone or Apple Watch," wrote Gurman in his "Power On" newsletter, "the technology would provide an alternative to the Garmin inReach Explorer and SPOT, handheld satellite communicators with similar features."

Both the SPOT and Garmin satellite devices are small handheld devices, but the technology would have to be considerably further reduced in size to fit the Apple Watch. The existing devices also require short and stubby, but prominent aerials.

Plus, of course, they would need to have satellites in which to transmit to, and receive from, but Gurman believes Apple is working on this.

"There have been signs lately that Apple and its apparent satellite partner Globalstar Inc. might be getting closer to launching such a feature," he continued. "In February, Globalstar said it reached an agreement to buy 17 new satellites to help power 'continuous satellite services' for a 'potential -- and unnamed -- customer that had paid it hundreds of millions of dollars."

Separately, Gurman also predicted an M3 iMac Pro coming in 2023.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 10
    sirdirsirdir Posts: 189member
    I doubt it. Antenna and power needed…
  • Reply 2 of 10
    A few years ago I would have said that about Cellular and GPS and now look.
  • Reply 3 of 10
    davendaven Posts: 706member
    I can see possibly text messaging but voice calls would be n even higher hurdle. 
  • Reply 4 of 10
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,770member
    Satellite before 5G? Sure. Whatever you say, Gurman. 
  • Reply 5 of 10
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 838member
    Star link Baby
  • Reply 6 of 10
    hucom2000hucom2000 Posts: 149member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Star link Baby
    Oh yea? You have that in a watch?
  • Reply 7 of 10
    That would get me to upgrade from my iPhone 13 Pro Max!

    I rock climb a lot alone, bring my iPhone AND the Garmin Mini.  
  • Reply 8 of 10
    I can barely believe it in a phone; but in a Watch? Directly?

    Sure, if you want battery life measured in single-digit minutes.

    It is true that you can always trade bandwidth for power in RF communications; so a very low bit-rate text messaging system, with ridiculous amounts of auto-correlation, might be able to send an SOS-type signal along with GPS coordinates.

    Perhaps just a "pick an emergency" type thing; so that just a "message-type code", DeviceID, and GPS coordinates (or perhaps the satellite Mesh Network could determine location, like "reverse GPS") could be transmitted at an ultra-low bitrate, likely just using Carrier on/off signaling, with Reed-Solomon or similar error-correction.

    the satellites would have power to burn, relatively-speaking; so getting an acknowledgement, ETA, etc, back to the Device would be much less challenging.

    But that's just a guess; IANARFE (I Am Not An RF Engineer) ;-)
  • Reply 9 of 10
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Star link Baby

    This is probably too small…

    Found that picture and then noticed the branding! (Not that Musk!)
  • Reply 10 of 10
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,387member
    I’m waiting for a subspace radio so I can call for help in case of planetary disaster. 
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