By Chand Bellur
February 2, 2020 at 8:53 p.m. PDT
- Amazon, Facebook and Google are all involved in satellite technology projects.
- Apple made key hires in the aerospace and telecommunications industry, indicating interest in satellite technology.
- Most corporations experience difficulty profiting from satellite technology.
Is Apple Building Its Own Satellite Network?
Rumors abound, as everyone is watching Apple. The Cupertino company is the darling of institutional and individual investors alike. Divining Apple’s future is important to investors and entertaining for fanboys. The latest Apple rumor involves satellites, however, there isn’t much to substantiate speculation.
Highly speculative articles began emerging a few months ago about Apple’s fledgling satellite program. The company made a few hires and seems interested in satellite technology, however, this may be a distraction.
Apple’s recent hiring of aerospace engineers seems to indicate that the company may be at the R&D state of possible satellite technology. Tim Cook seems interested in the project, which could mean they’re taking it seriously. It could also be a moonshot move from a marketing executive.
Apple to Become a Cellular Provider?
Silence on Apple’s part has led to speculation about their possible satellite program. Some believe that Apple will enter the telecommunications industry.
Becoming a cellular service provider is not an outlandish possibility for Apple. The company recently released their own credit card. There are myriad stores that have their own credit card, but the Apple Card delivered more than competitors. The technology is more secure than competing credit cards, and the Wallet app offers transparency about late fees and encourages customers to pay off their balance.
An Apple cellular plan could be similarly valuable and flexible. Google’s Fi cellular service is a similar endeavor, however, if Apple operates their own satellites, it will indeed be one huge step forward.
Advanced Communications Facilitated by Satellites
The other theory is that Apple will use satellites to develop more advanced inter-device communication capabilities. This seems much like a cellular service, but in this delusional prediction, Apple would be giving cellular service away for free.
This rumor is highly unlikely. Apple gives its users a free U2 album. They’re not going to build a network of satellites so you can send iMessages without a cellular data plan. A cellular service is far more likely, especially considering Apple’s drive for subscription services.
Many Failed Satellite Internet Startups
The road to consumer satellite Internet service is littered with the wreckage of failed endeavors. Globalstar, Teledesic and Iridium all tried to launch satellite-based Internet services and failed.
The difference is that Apple is one of the biggest corporations on the planet and their most successful product is a smartphone that uses cellular service. Becoming a cellular provider is a vertical integration move. Apple would create the network that its own phones use to operate.
All cellular providers use a terrestrial based network of cell towers. They don’t use satellites. Such a bold move would radically transform cellular service as we know it today. Combined with terrestrial cellular service, this hybrid could offer blazing fast speeds with one hundred percent availability. Perhaps Apple will be the champion of 6G networks?