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Apple’s ace product iPhone and its new variant iPhone 13 is expected to use a customised version of the Qualcomm X60 baseband modem chip. This chip will support communications over satellite.

The new iPhone 13 is lined up to launch next month and now a new report has claimed that the upcoming models will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without cellular coverage.

The capability will allow iPhone 13 users to make calls and send messages without the need for a 4G or 5G cellular connection, reports MacRumors. According to communication technology analysts, besides Facebook and Tesla, companies like Airtel and some other companies are going ahead with LEO satellite communication projects.

According to Kuo’s investor note, Apple’s yet-to-be-launched iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. This comes at a time when there is a tectonic shift with the advent of 5G and 6G technologies. Also, a sea change likely to happen with the advent of IoT and 4th industrial revolution led by IIoT technologies.

Once enabled with relevant software features, iPhone 13 users can make calls and send messages without the need for a 4G or 5G cellular connection. The Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 baseband chip, which supports satellite communication, will feature in the new phone.

The report also says users will not have to pay for communicating over LEO satellites. Telecom operators though may need to have an arrangement with Globalstar, the company Qualcomm is working with to offer satellite communication connectivity.

In another report, the feature would be dubbed “Emergency Message via Satellite” and integrated into the iMessage app as a third protocol. This feature will show grey bubbles as opposed to green and blue for SMS and iMessage texts.

Though the iPhone 13 model would be feature-ready, it would not be available for use until next year, it said. There is also the possibility of Apple scrapping the feature.

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