a partnership with Starlink?

After the Mate 50 series, Apple has just introduced its new iPhone 14 models, which is the second generation of phones to have satellite connectivity, for emergency messaging services. Apple decided to use Globalstar as the satellite communications provider for the iPhone 14, as opposed to Elon Musk’s Starlink, which had an exclusive deal with T-Mobile for a somewhat similar feature.

Elon Musk on the move

When the boss of Tesla and SpaceX tweeted that Starlink was also in talks with Apple over satellite services, Globalstar’s stock price fell. And this, despite the fact that the company had already reached an agreement with Apple. Speaking on the subject, he said:

We’ve had encouraging conversations with Apple about Starlink connectivity. »

It should be noted, however, that he did not explain why Apple finally decided to choose Globalstar. He elaborated on his point, providing another useful piece of information:

The close bond between space and the phone will work better if the phone’s software and hardware adapt to space signals, rather than if Starlink just replicates the cellphone tower.

iPhone 14 satellite technology

For those who still don’t know, star link is the name of SpaceX’s satellite project.

Recently, SpaceX and T-Mobile joined forces to announce a new relationship, just days before Apple introduced the iPhone 14. T-Mobile is hopeful of being able to integrate its midband PCS spectrum into Starlink V2 satelliteswhich is scheduled for deployment next year.

T-Mobile customers would then be able to connect directly to Starlink satellites, using this feature, in situations where cellular or Wi-Fi service is unavailable.

Visual showing an iPhone 14 connected to the Starlink satellite network (with Apple and Starlink logos)
iPhone 14 and Starlink network (source: Tesla News France)

Thanks to an updated version of Emergency SOS, Apple is introducing the possibility of connecting to satellites on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro smartphones. The feature will be available in November this year in the US and Canada, and users won’t have to pay for it for the first two years.

Apple also said yesterday that it would dedicate $450 million from its advanced manufacturing fund to improving satellite infrastructure. This announcement came at the same time as the previous one. It should be noted, however, that Globalstar will not receive all of this money, but most of it.

Towards a future SpaceX-Apple partnership?

Today, Elon Musk joined the ongoing conversation. The Tesla boss said today, in a message he posted on Twitter, that SpaceX has had ” promising conversations with Apple about the connectivity provided by Starlink. He did not expand on the details of those discussions and simply said he thinks the Apple team is ” very shiny“.

In the absence of cellular connectivity, owners of an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, or iPhone 14 Pro Max can use Emergency SOS option to send a message requesting help to others using the device.

According to data provided by Apple, the message can be sent in just 15 seconds, when there is no cloud cover. But when it is too dense, it can take up to several minutes.

Apple will continue to offer the Emergency SOS feature on iPhone 14, at no additional cost, for two years, or until the next major upgrade cycle.

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