Apple is working behind closed doors on a special “satellite program” to enable Apple devices to communicate with each other. In doing so, the company hopes to bypass mobile network providers, writes Bloomberg.
It is not yet certain if that will be the outcome of the program. Bloomberg suggests that Apple is also looking at other ways to deploy a satellite network. For example, it could possibly be used to improve location services.
It is also not yet clear whether Apple would launch the satellites itself. Presumably, research is still being done into this.
According to Tim Cook, the research has “high priority”. It would involve some ten specialised engineers, including from the aeronautical and satellite sectors. According to Bloomberg, the team is led by Michael Trela and John Fenwic, two experts in aviation and satellite technology who left Google in 2017.
Everyone wants a satellite network
Apple is by no means the only tech giant investigating the possibilities of its own satellite network. Amazon, for example, wants to launch three thousand satellites to provide “few and non-served communities worldwide” with internet.
The “long-term project” includes satellites in three different orbits around the earth. They should enable broadband internet on a large scale, even in uncharted areas. Amazon already offers a cloud computing service for communication between ground stations and satellites, AWS Ground Station.
Elon Musks SpaceX has shot dozens of satellites into space under the name Starlink since 2018. Eventually, thousands of satellites had to be launched. Musk also wants to offer broadband internet via Starlink.
Scientists do warn for technological ‘overpopulation’ of the nearby space. These would make astronomy more difficult and increase the amount of space debris.