Kuo: iPhone 13 to support LEO satellite communication, allowing users to make phone calls and send texts without cell signal

Benjamin Mayo, 9to5Mac:

In an investor note, Ming-Chi Kuo today said that he expects the upcoming iPhone 13 models to feature a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communication mode. This would allow an iPhone 13 user to send messages and make phone calls, even when they are not within standard 4G/5G cell tower coverage.


Kuo says that the iPhone 13 will use a customized version of the Qualcomm X60 baseband modem chip. This chip will support communications over satellite.


In the future, Kuo speculates that LEO satellite communication may also be used by the upcoming Apple AR headset, the Apple Car and other Internet-of-Things accessories.

The big question for me is, if true, how will this perform under load? Well enough to move people off traditional carriers?

In other words, if I have WiFi at home and at the office, would a LEO phone/text capability be good enough that I’d have no need for a cellular connection?

Also, what would the physical constraints be? Outdoor use only? Would it work in a moving vehicle?

More to look forward to in the upcoming (rumored) Apple event.

Side note: Most of the artificial objects in space are in low Earth orbit, including all crewed space stations and the Hubble Space Telescope.