You might not have to wait long for an iPhone with satellite communication built-in. According to 9to5Mac, well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the next iPhone 12 will include support for low-Earth-orbit satellite calls and messages. You could get in touch on a remote camping trip without any cellphone service, and without buying a separate satellite communicator service.
The iPhone would supposedly use a modified version of Qualcomm’s X60 modem for satellite communication. It is not certain if satellite support would be limited to certain apps, although we would not be surprised if that will be the case. Mobile satellite service is often far slower than conventional cellular services, ruling out many of the internet-intensive apps people take for granted.
There is good reason to be skeptical about it. A Bloomberg rumor from 2019 had Apple developing satellite technology for the iPhone 13, but the team reportedly hoped to ship a product within five years — two years might be too early, assuming the leaks were accurate in the first place or not. There are also logistical questions to address, such as the choice of service providers. Satellite service has historically been expensive for common users, and it might be a tough sell even if you regularly venture beyond cellular coverage.
Many expect Apple to launch the new iPhone lineup in September 2021. It is not certain if this would be limited to Pro models or reach the entire iPhone range.