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Top analyst says 5G iPhone 13 series will offer a new connectivity option: Satellites

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Top analyst says 5G iPhone 13 series will offer a new connectivity option: Satellites
TF International's reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the upcoming Apple iPhone 13 series, just weeks away from being unveiled, will add a new connectivity option. In a note to clients read by AppleInsider, Kuo wrote that the iPhone 13 models will contain the Qualcomm X60 baseband chip that will allow the iPhone 13 line to support low-earth-orbit satellite communications.

The analyst reaches this conclusion because of Qualcomm's work with Globalstar. In his note, Kuo wrote, "There are many potential scenarios for Apple's business model cooperation with Globalstar. The simplest scenario is that if the user's operator has already teamed with Globalstar, the user can directly use Globalstar's satellite communication service on the iPhone 13 through the operator's service."

Kuo feels that Apple has more plans to use satellite connectivity with the iPhone and points to "innovative user experiences that can be integrated with new products." He also mentions that Apple's rumored mixed-reality headset and the rumored Apple Car could both take advantage of satellite communications in conjunction with very fast mmW 5G signals.

Apple will customize Qualcomm's X60 chip for the feature although it is not known exactly what changes it will make. Other smartphone manufacturers wishing to add this feature will have to wait until 2022 at which time Qualcomm's X65 baseband chip will be available. While the iPhone 13 line won't be the first smartphones to support satellite connectivity, it would be the first mainstream handset line to do so.

If this rumor is true, and we know that Kuo has a high accuracy rate, the iPhone 13 models would bring a different look to satellite phones. Many are big and chunky with an antenna that needs to be extended. However, there is an Android powered satellite handset called the Thuraya X5-Touch. It allows users to choose between using a GSM cellular network or satellite signals. The device, priced in the neighborhood of $1,150, features a 5.2-inch FHD+ display.


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Apple iPhone 13 specs
  • Display 6.1 inches 2532 x 1170 pixels 60Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A15 Bionic 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3227 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x
Apple iPhone 13 mini specs
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  • Display 5.4 inches 2340 x 1080 pixels 60Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A15 Bionic 4GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2406 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x
Apple iPhone 13 Pro specs
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  • Display 6.1 inches 2532 x 1170 pixels 120Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A15 Bionic 6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3095 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max specs
  • Display 6.7 inches 2778 x 1284 pixels 120Hz Refresh rate
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A15 Bionic 6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4352 mAh
  • OS iOS 15.x

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