Sunday, September 5, 2021

Satellite Services on the iPhone - The Possibilities Are Endless for Apple

T-Mobile's gross profit for 2020 was $40 billion. And that is a lot of money no matter how anyone, including Wall Street looks at it. Now, consider the yet to be announced feature on the iPhone 13 that allows users to use satellite services to connect in the event of an emergency and slowly over years, Apple begin to offer its own satellite services, possibly bypassing the mobile companies and keep billions in profit and revenue, it would be a business that provides high margins (seems like Wall Street is very concerned about profit margin for all publicly traded companies). 

According to reliable sources, the iPhone 13 will allow users who are outdoor to use the iPhone to connect to satellites to transmit short messages in case of emergencies. For the moment, the iPhone will not become a satellite phone. Rather, the emergency satellite service will be limited in usage as well as limited in the number of markets available.

Here are other services that I would like Apple to offer (perhaps as a rate they can charge):
  • Mapping. I would love to be able to download maps in areas where mobile connectivity are not available. I have gone on hikes miles in the mountains and barely made it out before dark. To suggest that I was panicking the last couple of hours and especially when I took the wrong turn and realized I had to backtrack 2-3 miles (and was not sure going back was the right decision) and looking an extra hour of sunlight would be a great understatement. 
  • Video and data connection. 5G is fast. Maybe it is. I would not really know at this point because it seems like I get it 5G in my mom's kitchen but nowhere else I know. I'm writing this in downtown Los Angeles and I'm only getting LTE albeit at full 5 bars.  I would not mind paying for faster Internet on top of what I pay T-Mobile via satellite, either as a backup or for faster download/upload rates, if it means I have added mobile connectivity should one or the other go down. This can be part of the iCloud services that Apple can eventually offer. It would be a wonderful addition for Apple TV, augmented reality, or iCloud storage.
  • Video communication. If a research teams in the Amazon or on an excavation in Southeast Asia, remote jungles/deserts of Africa, or the poles of the planet need to communicate with home, all they need are iPhones, iPads, or Macs with satellite modems.
Some would suggest that Apple may upset a lot of carriers if not all them should it appears like Apple is infringing on their markets. Sure. Apple has to do what it has to if it wants to keep bringing top notch services to its customers and that includes providing connection for the iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch for the users. 

And let's face the facts - no mobile company is going to build cell towers in the Amazon, Sahara, or even the mountains deep in the national parks around North America. And eventually, a plethora of satellite companies are going to be offering Internet services to complete with the cable, telecoms, and mobile companies like T-Mobile that offers home Internet through cellular services. It makes sense for Apple to get into this market.

Of course, this is years if not a decade or more away. Apple is very good at playing the kind of the long game. They offer one small service at a time (isn't GPS already a satellite service) and over time build out its services. In 10 years, Apple may have a valuable service that it offers to its customers that is both needed and profitable or other companies could step in and fill the needs of the market and Apple would decide against offering its own satellite services.  

No matter how you look at it, it is good to see Apple get into this realm, pulling other companies right along with it. And perhaps, it could be Apple's way of getting to space.

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