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iPhone 14 satellite connectivity rumor just returned

iPhone 14 Pro render in purple color
(Image credit: Everything Apple Pro)

Last year, a few days before the iPhone 13 launched, a rumor did the rounds that Apple was preparing to introduce satellite connectivity to its flagship handsets, allowing those without signal to send out SOS messages.

Here we are, 12 days before the iPhone 14 is officially unveiled, and the same rumor is gaining traction again. The introduction of satellite communications for the iPhone 14 was first mooted back in April, and the ‘Far Out’ spaced-themed invites certainly make it seem possible. 

But the biggest hint that satellite communications could finally be introduced comes not from Apple itself, but from rival companies in the telecommunication space, according to Tim Farrar, a consultant at Telecom, Media and Finance Associates.

In a Twitter thread (opens in new tab) posted yesterday, Farrar explains that Thursday’s announcement from T-Mobile (opens in new tab) — that it would be teaming up with SpaceX to deliver satellite communications to its customers — was likely pre-empting Apple’s big reveal on September 7.

“Given how many half-formed concepts were put forward, the only possible conclusion is that this was designed to pre-empt next week's Apple announcement of their own free messaging service with Globalstar,” he tweeted. “That should begin as soon as the new phone is released.”

Because Apple will be using the existing satellite spectrum, he continued, rule changes from the FCC won’t be required. “However, the service will be limited just to two-way texting — no voice calls or photos unless they invest in a new multi-billion dollar constellation,” he added.

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“The Feb 2022 order for 17 new satellites was a stop-gap for service continuity and it is unknown whether Apple might want to go further,” he continued. “Clearly Globalstar's decision to delay their refinancing also anticipated that a public announcement by Apple would make it simpler.”

If correct, this likely won’t be the only upgrade coming with this generation of Apple phones — especially if you’re prepared to buy the iPhone 14 Pro. This year, Apple appears to be keen on upselling, with the flagship model apparently benefiting from a number of exclusive upgrades: a faster chipset, an always-on display, the end of the notch and the first upgrade in camera megapixel count since the iPhone 6s appeared in 2015.

All will be revealed soon, with an official event scheduled for Wednesday 7 September. You can watch the event live from 10 a.m PT (opens in new tab) — otherwise, we’ll be on hand to provide all the news and analysis you need on the big day.

Next: The iPhone 14 Pro has been tipped to get an ultrawide camera upgrade, and it could be 'Far Out'. And we've chewed over how the iPhone 14 Pro camera upgrade could mean better low light images.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.