Apple reportedly has plans to bypass carriers and deliver data itself to the iPhone

Apple reportedly has plans to bypass carriers and deliver data itself to the iPhone
In five years, Apple iPhone and iPad users might be able to receive online content on their phone directly via satellite and bypass their wireless carrier. According to Bloomberg, the company has a secret team involving 12 engineers currently working on such a project. Sources cited by Bloomberg caution that the project is in its early stages and could still be dropped. But with company CEO Tim Cook taking an interest in the project, it is clear that satellite delivery of online content is high on Apple's to-do list.

Besides using satellites to beam the internet directly to iPhone units, Apple could be looking into the use of satellite technology to provide iPhone owners with improved navigation and mapping capabilities. It is unclear whether the company plans on developing its own satellites, which would be a rather costly endeavor, or will use equipment on the ground to send data obtained by a satellite and send it to iPhones and iPads.

With this project, Apple might finally start to cut the carriers out of the equation which is something Steve Jobs had hoped to accomplish


The project might not be limited to Apple's mobile devices and could actually be a workaround allowing Apple to become a wireless operator. This would allow the company to take on the carriers worldwide. While this was something that the late Steve Jobs was hoping to accomplish, back in 2016 Tim Cook said that the company didn't have the expertise on a network level. But using satellites might be a different story. However, this won't be easy. "The lessons of prior failures like Iridium, Globalstar and Teledesic are that it’s really hard to find a viable business plan for multibillion-dollar satellite communications projects," said satellite expert Tim Farrar, a principal at TMF associates. But Apple must feel confident that it can turn a buck with this technology. Apple isn't the only tech company looking at the sky; Amazon plans on deploying more than 3,000 satellites that will first be sent into space in 2021. In a regulatory filing, Amazon said that it hoped to connect "tens of millions of unserved and underserved consumers and businesses in the United States and around the globe."


Some have noticed that Apple is looking for software and hardware engineers that have worked on designing components for communications equipment. Pair that with recent hires made by Apple of people with experience in the aerospace and wireless data delivery industries and it all starts to become a little clearer. The team working on the project is led by aerospace engineers Michael Trela and John Fenwick. The pair worked on a satellite imaging firm that was eventually sold to Google five years ago and they ended up running Google’s satellite and spacecraft operations before leaving for Apple in 2017. After spending 18 months examining whether Apple could benefit from satellite technology, the team has started work on making this a reality. Both Trela and Fenwick report to Apple's iPhone engineering group.

Apple's work on the use of satellites to deliver content to mobile devices is one of several special projects that the company is reportedly working on. Virtual reality and augmented reality headsets are said to be in the works with launches expected in 2021 and 2022 respectively. Bloomberg also mentions that Apple continues to work on technology for the Apple Watch that will allow the timepiece to provide non-invasive blood glucose readings for diabetics. This is a project that we have mentioned from time-to-time. And the company is also planning to design its own modem chips which will allow it to replace Qualcomm. Even though Apple spent $1 billion to purchase Intel's smartphone modem business earlier this year, it will still be several years before an Apple-designed modem chip is found inside the iPhone.

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14 Comments

1. sun0066

Posts: 288; Member since: Feb 12, 2011

Well it is not a secret any longer

2. Tizo101

Posts: 644; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

If this is true, carriers are in trouble

9. Papa_Ji

Posts: 912; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

and carrier will stop offering iPhones and quality service. or this many be the ultimate tool to restrice the users in there trap

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31764; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Now that would be cool. Go for it Apple.

4. Derekjeter

Posts: 1577; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Anything that will stop all this BS between government and carriers.

5. megaSUNNY

Posts: 93; Member since: Jun 26, 2012

Costs $1000 a year.

6. Vokilam

Posts: 1446; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

So does my Verizon bill

7. megaSUNNY

Posts: 93; Member since: Jun 26, 2012

Makes sense but what about the network?

10. Vokilam

Posts: 1446; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Verizon throttles me between 10am and 7pm because of my plan for which they want extra $10 per line to up me from 0gb to 23gb for when they start throttling me. ATT didn’t do this to me. Still, Verizon is not the best provider that everyone made them out to be - they’re slightly better (very slighly) than ATT when it comes to rural areas. That’s it. And they’re already costing me extra $10 per line over ATT for unlimited and they want another $10 per line to throttle me after 23gb when ATT delivers 23GB throttle limit at $20 cheaper. I’m curious about apples network, or even xfinity WiFi thing (FYI xfinity doesn’t have it in my area - so I’m waiting for their expansion). Basically the more options the better.

8. 44alexsmith

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 06, 2016

It would benefit only iPhone users.

11. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1604; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Last I checked satellites still struggle to provide a consistent and quality signal for standard television, how would they possibly compete with what's on the ground already? It's not a horrible idea, it's just to my knowledge we're probably a few decades from the tech we need.

12. mackan84

Posts: 688; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Reading through comments I realized that if their are something smartphone users worldwide dislike more then Apple... It’s carriers. Merry Christmas y’all!

13. midan

Posts: 3228; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

This propably means great things for people with bad reception. I can't believe some people still have dropped calls, i had no idea it's still a thing. Last time i had them is propably ten years ago.

14. Papa_Ji

Posts: 912; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Apple can't do something new..... Just keep dreaming. They can just copy and paste a apple logo and sell it for 5X price. Direct and good communication from satellite through a device like smartphone is almost impossible and highly objectionable.

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