Apple has a dedicated research team looking into new ways to beam data like internet connectivity directly to iPhones and other devices, reports Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.
The Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker has about a dozen engineers from the aerospace, satellite and antenna design industries working on the project with the goal of deploying their results within five years, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal company efforts. Work on the project is still early and could be abandoned, the people said, and a clear direction and use for satellites hasn’t been finalized.
According to the report, Apple’s main aim is to beam data to a user’s iPhone, potentially reducing the dependence on wireless carriers, or for linking devices together without a traditional network, thereby mitigating coverage issues. Apple could also be exploring satellites for more precise location tracking for its devices, enabling improved maps and new features.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly made the project a company priority, and Apple is said to be ramping up hiring, hoping for the initiative to produce results within five years.
Back in 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple had hired two Google satellite executives. What the two would be doing at Apple was unclear, but Bloomberg speculated that they were either working on satellites for image collection or satellites for communications.