Apple is Developing Satellite Technology to Provide Data Services to iPhones without A Carrier

According to Bloomberg, Apple has reportedly planned to develop satellite technology to beam data to the company’s devices. It will allow Apple’s mobile services to communicate with each other without depending on wireless carriers like Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, or China Mobile. Apple has reportedly hired a secret team which is comprising a dozen of skilled engineers from different industries, including aerospace and satellite design.

However, the long term outcome of the project is not decided yet. Bloomberg’s sources say Michael Trela and John Fenwick will lead the team that is aiming to deploy the results of the initiative within five years. Bloomberg has also claimed that the project is “still early and could be abandoned,” and there is no clear concept about its end goal. There is no confirmation of whether the company wants to build its satellite or utilize others’ data.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed his interest in the team’s work. Former Google satellite and aerospace engineers Michael Trela and John Fenwick left Google in 2017 to join Apple. As per the sources, the company has also hired prominent wireless engineer Matt Ettus, Daniel Ellis (Netflix), and Ashley Moore Williams (Aerospace Crop). Apple is also seeking to develop silicon that would replace Intel CPUs in its Mac products.

Under Cook, Apple has significantly increased its research and development budget by a 14% boost from the previous year. In its fiscal year 2019, the company spent $16 billion. Apple is not the first company showing interest in satellites. Amazon and SpaceX are also working to provide internet coverage via satellite. In the 1990s, several other companies tried to launch the technology, but they faced failures due to technological and financial challenges. So, it will be interesting to see if Apple can overcome the problem and establish a new era of satellite technology.
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