The iPhone 13 would support LEO communication, but what is it ?

Apple is reportedly secretly working on the integration of a new technology : satellite telecommunications. Instead of using terrestrial relay antennas, the new iPhone could communicate directly with the sky through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit.

Aug 30, 2021 - 17:22
Sep 22, 2023 - 11:20
The iPhone 13 would support LEO communication, but what is it ?

The iPhone 13 should be announced in September and marketed in the wake, the information and indiscretions about it do not stop surging for a few weeks. It is difficult to see more clearly, but we should be fixed soon enough. In the meantime, new information has just arrived. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst specializing in issues around Apple, the iPhone 13 would offer a LEO satellite connection.


LEO stands for low earth orbit, which is translated into English as low earth orbit or OTB. It is an area of Earth's orbit that goes up to 2,000 kilometers above the atmosphere.

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It is in this area that the vast majority of artificial satellites are located, for telecommunications and imaging (weather, surveillance, intelligence, etc.). You can theoretically connect to a satellite anywhere on the Earth's surface, that's what Elon Musk is setting up with Starlink.

The advantage of this low orbit is that it does not require the power that is used by geostationary satellite systems (35,000 kilometers above the Earth's surface). There are therefore light communication systems since the end of the 80s but this requires suitable and compatible hardware. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 would be compatible with these systems. The proposed speeds are low, equivalent to 3G, they mainly allow to make calls and send messages, but also to browse the web.

More concretely, the iPhone could therefore support the frequency bands emitted by these satellites to exchange data. The new range of iPhone would have a Qualcomm X60 chip customized to support communication via LEO satellites.

Today, speculation around new means of communication on the iPhone is not clear. Apple could offer this service for free but limit it to its services (FaceTime and iMessage). We also do not know if this service will be available in all countries, it is indeed necessary that the territory is covered and it depends on the operators (Iridium, Inmarsat, etc.)

Source : MacRumors

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