It may not be a long wait for an iPhone with built-in satellite communication to be made available. According to 9to5Mac, well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the next iPhone (possibly called the iPhone 13) will include support for satellite calls and messages in low Earth orbit.
It would be able to contact a remote camp without coverage of any cellular service and without purchasing a separate satellite communicator.
The iPhone was supposed to use a modified version of Qualcomm’s X60 modem to communicate with satellites. It’s unclear whether satellite support would be limited to certain applications, although we wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. Mobile satellite service is often much slower than conventional cell phone data, discarding many of the internet-intensive applications for people.
However, there are good reasons to be skeptical. A Bloomberg rumor from 2019 said Apple was developing satellite technology for the iPhone, but the team expected to release a product within five years — two years may be too soon, assuming the leaks were accurate in the first place. There are also logistical issues to be addressed, such as the choice of service providers. Satellite service has historically been expensive and can be difficult to sell, even if you regularly venture beyond cellular coverage.
Many expect Apple to launch the new iPhone lineup in September. It’s not clear whether this would be limited to Pro models or cover the entire iPhone range.
If there’s a satellite link, though, Apple may have a stronger hook for the new iPhone than rumors of screen and camera updates. This would be the first popular smartphone to offer connectivity virtually anywhere on the planet, and competitors may not match the feature for a while.