Apple has reportedly tasked its secret team of satellite and wireless technology experts with findings solutions for an alleged satellite broadband service which would beam data and provide Internet connectivity directly to its devices, bypassing the traditional carriers.
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.
Should Apple succeed in bringing a broadband satellite Internet service to its customers, the company could mitigate the dependence on wireless carriers or for linking devices together without a traditional network.
Of course, Apple could ultimately abandon this initiative.
The Cupertino technology giant could also be exploring satellites for more precise location tracking for its devices, better maps and other new features. However, chief executive Tim Cook is said to have shown interest in the project so that’s promising.
It’s unclear if this relates to Bloomberg’s April 2017 story which reported that Apple and Boeing had held talks about a broadband satellite service via 1,000+ satellites providing fast Internet coverage throughout the United States and internationally.
That same month, Bloomberg in another story reported that the Cupertino firm was recruiting top satellite executives from Google for its new hardware team, including Michael Trela and John Fenwick, former aerospace engineers who helped lead satellite imaging company Skybox Imaging before it sold to Google in 2014.
From today’s report:
During their first year and a half at Apple, Trela and Fenwick explored the feasibility of developing satellite technology and understanding the problem they want to solve and in recent months have started intensifying work on the project.
The effort suffered a setback earlier this year when its previous leader, Greg Duffy, left Apple after joining in 2016. Duffy, the co-founder of camera startup Dropcam, which Google acquired in 2014, reported to Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering.
Trela and Fenwick still work within Apple’s hardware engineering division.