Apple is reportedly contemplating entering the ‘mega-constellation’ satellite race and joining SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb and others in launching craft into orbit.
It remains unclear whether Apple is preparing to construct and have its own satellites launched, or alternatively using capacity on existing satellites. A Bloomberg report says that Apple has quietly assembled a team of experts to examine the best way to beam data directly to and from its own devices by satellite and bypassing ground-based wireless infrastructures.
The staffers contain skills from the aerospace, satellite and antenna industries, says Bloomberg, although admitting the project is in its early stages.
Amongst the hirings are the former head of satellite engineering at Google and former head of spacecraft at Google. Google was an early investor in OneWeb, for example, and is still developing its ‘Project Loon’ high-altitude balloon transmission concept.
Direct connectivity from an iPhone to space is far from foolish, and there’s planet of experience from today’s conventional satellite phones to connect ‘direct-to-satellite’ even to geostationary satellites with commensurate latency. The plans of SpaceX, Amazon and OneWeb are all for Low Earth orbiting satellites with very short latency times. Apple’s plans – such as they are – would have to embrace these LEO-type services.