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Reports suggest that the forthcoming iPhone 13 will have the ability to communicate through satellites, but it’s perhaps not quite as powerful or extensive a feature as that makes it sound.

Established Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed that the forthcoming iPhone revision would have access to Globalstar Inc’s satellite spectrum, and might thus be able to make direct calls even where no mobile network signal is present.

However, subsequent investigations and clarifications from the likes of Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman have painted a slightly less liberating – though still highly useful – vision. Initially, this feature will enable iPhone 13 users to contact emergency services and contacts even in low-signal areas.

This would apparently be implemented as a third messaging protocol represented by gray message bubbles, alongside the usual iMessage (blue bubbles) and SMS messages (green bubbles). It might also be possible to directly report major emergencies via satellite link.

What’s more, Apple may not be ready to implement such a feature until 2022 – if it goes ahead with its plans at all. Such things are, as always, subject to change and even all-out cancellation.

In this particular instance, much would be dependant on the availability of the appropriate satellites. As such, while such a feature would doubtless open out emergency connectivity in remote and inhospitable areas, it would still be far from truly universal.