Thursday, Sep 22, 2022, 11:38 iOS: Hardware

iPhone 14 & Satellite Emergency Calls – Details About The Hardware

Come November, iPhone 14 owners will still be able to place emergency calls without cellular connection – via satellite. The new feature, currently a unique selling point for Cupertino's smartphones, will only be active in the US and Canada at first. Until this point, the only thing anyone knew about the project was that Apple is working with Globalstar to bring the feature to fruition. As far as the technical details were concerned, say the components built into the device, no-one knew anything – until now.

Satellite Calls With Qualcomm's Modems
A teardown and repair expert from iFixit just took apart the iPhone 14 Pro Max, according to a report from Reuters, to take a closer look at the hardware responsible for the satellite communication. The examination revealed an old friend: Qualcomm's Modem Chip X65 is an essential component of Apple's "Emergency SOS via Satellite" function. This is a particularly interesting finding, especially given that Apple is trying to develop its own 5G modem in order to be free of its reliance on Qualcomm in the near future.

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X65 Supports Frequency Band Used By Globalstar
The reason for Cupertion's decision for the X65 is likely two pronged: Firstly, Apple still has contractual obligations to Qualcomm per a 2019 agreement – until 2025, second, and likely even more important, the X65 is compatible with not only 5G, but also older cellular standards. This means that the chip even supports the n53 frequency bands used by Globalstar right out of the box.

Apple Introduces In-House Chips & Software To Assist
However, the X65 alone isn't enough to get the job done for Apple's new SOS via satellite feature. To this end, Cupertino developed several additional components. However, the Californian company refrained from providing Reuters with any further information concerning these parts. According to Apple, the software required for "Emergency SOS Via satellite" was developed completely in-house.

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