Ap­ple looks into launch­ing broad­band satel­lites

Ap­ple has hired two for­mer Google satel­lite ex­ec­u­tives and held talks with Boe­ing, re­veals

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS - Os­car Ray­mundo

Ap­ple has a new high-fly­ing project in the works. Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg, the firm is get­ting in­volved in launch­ing satel­lites that would beam down broad­band in­ter­net ac­cess. Re­cently, Ap­ple poached

two Google satel­lite ex­ec­u­tives to form a new hard­ware team within the com­pany. John Fen­wick led Google’s space­craft op­er­a­tions and Michael Trela was head of satel­lite engi­neer­ing. The re­port adds that Fen­wick and Trela will now re­port to Greg Duffy, the Drop­cam founder who joined Ap­ple ear­lier this year. Pre­sum­ably, they will be work­ing on a se­cret project to de­sign and de­velop Ap­ple’s own satel­lites.

An­other re­cent de­vel­op­ment that points to Ap­ple’s grow­ing in­ter­est in this area is a part­ner­ship with Boe­ing to launch more than 1,000 low-or­bit satel­lites. Ap­ple has held dis­cus­sions with Boe­ing about be­ing an in­vestor/part­ner in the project, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg. Fur­ther­more, aero­space in­sid­ers be­lieve Ap­ple is help­ing fund the Boe­ing satel­lites.

A world with bet­ter ac­cess to faster, low-la­tency In­ter­net will def­i­nitely help Ap­ple’s fu­ture. It would help in­crease the de­mand for the iPhone in emerg­ing markets, and also help make con­nected homes the next big thing.

There are a few caveats, how­ever. Satel­lite-beamed “In­ter­net from the sky” has long been a dream for ma­jor tech com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Google and Face­book, which would also ben­e­fit from a more-con­nected world. But launch­ing a fleet of satel­lites has proven to be ex­pen­sive and risky, and many satel­lite com­pa­nies have gone out of busi­ness as a re­sult.

It’s en­tirely pos­si­ble that Ap­ple hired the ex-Googlers to work on a project that’s more down to earth. Duffy’s ex­pe­ri­ence is more in consumer prod­ucts and im­age­cap­tur­ing, so per­haps Ap­ple’s new hard­ware team could be creat­ing drones for im­prov­ing Maps, and thus re­plac­ing the cam­era-equipped mini­vans.

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