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The upcoming iPhone 13 might have a leg up on the competition, as the unannounced smartphone will allegedly feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity. Apple has been experimenting with the technology for years, with the ultimate goal to give its products the ability to make calls and texts without the need for standard 4G and 5G towers.
Nothing has been officially confirmed by Apple, but the news came from Ming-Chi Kuo – a prominent Apple analyst – in a recent investor note. Specifically, Kuo thinks users will be able to leverage LEO satellite connectivity to perform certain messaging tasks while outside the range of industry-standard cell towers. This is all possible thanks to a proprietary Qualcomm X60 modem chip – one that will be exclusively available in the iPhone 13 lineup at launch.
Because the rumors are unconfirmed, plenty of questions remain unanswered. Will only Apple-based applications such as iMessage and FaceTime be eligible for the service? Will LEO satellite usage be included in your monthly phone bill or will it incur a separate fee? And how reliable will it be compared to established 5G networks?
At this point, we have more questions than answers, but LEO satellite technology is undoubtedly an interesting prospect for the iPhone 13. Expect to learn more in the coming weeks – Apple is expected to pull back the curtain on the long-awaited iPhone sometime in September.
Is Satellite Connectivity a Game Changer for the iPhone 13?
While connecting to a satellite sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, there’s nothing truly unique about it. Satellite phones already exist on the market, and with the ever-growing reach of 5G, there’s little mainstream need for a persistent connection to outer space.
However, a sliver of iPhone users will probably love the feature, as it ensures they’re always online wherever they go. Specifically, owners in remote locations with poor reception, or those who take their phone on hikes, boats or anywhere “off the grid” will still be able to use a few features on their smartphone despite the lack of standard cell signals.
Considering the iPhone 13 will be the first of the big names to incorporate the technology, Apple will become the de facto leader in the field. It may not be a “game-changer,” but it’s a checkbox no other product will feature until at least 2022.
What Do We Know About Apple’s Next Smartphone?
Sadly, little has been confirmed about the iPhone 13. The LEO connectivity is the latest in a line of rumors and reports, with nothing officially confirmed by Apple. Still, a few reliable rumblings are floating about the internet:
The iPhone 13 screen will feature a smaller camera notch.
Both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will have diagonally oriented cameras.
The iPhone 13 screen will boast a new 120Hz refresh rate.
A larger battery will provide an all-day charge.
Again – nothing has been confirmed, but Apple should be setting up a press conference later this month to showcase the iPhone 13 in all its glory.
If You Can’t Wait for the iPhone 13, Check Out These iPhone 12 Deals
With the iPhone 13 (hopefully) right around the corner, plenty of retailers are offering up big discounts on the iPhone 12. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone today and can’t wait a few weeks to see what happens with the iPhone 13, here are some of the cheapest ways to get your hands on Apple’s current smartphone:
Save $700 by trading in your old iPhone SE, Galaxy S 8+, Google Pixel 4 or similar smartphone and upgrading to an iPhone 12. You’ll also get a $500 prepaid gift card if you opt for monthly device payments.
Trade in a smartphone in working condition to earn $700 off your purchase. You’ll also need to sign up for a qualifying installment plan, but this is a great way to offload an aging smartphone and get a huge discount. As long as it’s worth at least $95, your device will get you the full $700 in trade credits.
Purchase an iPhone 12 or 12 mini with a monthly payment plan, activate a new line on Magenta MAX, bring in your old phone number and you’ll earn up to $830 back in bill credits over 24 months. This is arguably the best way to get the iPhone 12 – just don’t cancel your subscription, or you’ll be on the hook for any remaining balance.
Our editors strive to ensure that the information in this article is accurate as of the date published, but please keep in mind that offers can change. We encourage you to verify all terms and conditions of any product before you apply.