New Apple iPhones to allow communications over satellite - report

The functionality could also be used with the company's rumoured smart glasses and car.
The functionality could also be used with the company's rumoured smart glasses and car. Photo credit: Getty Images

As Apple's expected major September event nears, more rumours about updates to the Cupertino-based company's product range have emerged.

Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst regarded as one of the more accurate predictors of Apple's future plans, says he expects the iPhone 13 to feature low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite communication modes.

He said the new iPhones will use a customised Qualcomm X60 modem chip that supports the functionality.

This would mean users could continue to send messages and make phone calls even if they don't have a signal from a cell tower.

Providing there is adequate coverage, that could help those in rural New Zealand where reliable connectivity can still be an issue.

Kuo also speculated that LEO satellite communication may also be used by the rumoured Apple Augmented reality (AR) headset and the Apple Car.

With no confirmation of the functionality yet, details of whether it would apply beyond Apple's iMessage and FaceTime services, or whether there will be a cost to use it are unknown.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who writes the tech-focused Power On newsletter, has previously said the iPhone 13 range will feature always-on displays and 120Hz refresh rate screens.

A faster A15 chip, a smaller notch at the top of the screen, upgrades to video recording and a new display for better battery life are also expected, according to Gurman.

And, in the latest edition of the newsletter, he says this year's Apple Watch range will be bigger than previous.

"This year's watches will come in 41mm and 45mm sizes, up from 40 and 44mm," he wrote.

"I'm told that Apple will bundle multiple new watch faces to take advantage of the bigger screen, including an updated Infograph Modular face.

"This will be the second time in the Apple Watch's history that the company has increased the display size, following the Apple Watch Series 4 in 2017."

Other changes expected include new AirPods with a shorter stem and a redesigned MacBook Air with more angular edges.

Apple doesn't officially comment on such rumours.