Lately, Apple has been adding to their space exploration team. Not only does Apple have their sights set on your mobile life, but evidently they look up at night and think about how to reach for the stars. Apple recently added two of Google's satellite executives to some vaguely understood hardware team. In April an inside-the-satellite-beltway blog site talked of Apple working with Boeing regarding Low Earth Orbit (LEO) multi-thousand satellite deployment. Sounds cool, but when it comes to Apple, the age old question remains; What's in it for me?
Have you ever been on a cruise or taken a flight? How about visiting another country far away or hiking to parts unknown? In each scenario internet access often costs far too much to justify, or simply isn't available. If you've ever attended a college football game good luck getting anything in or out of your iPhone, as the towers are typically jammed solid with traffic. Now envision all these places, or virtually everywhere, providing strong signal with amazing speeds for any task, anywhere, any time. That's what's in it for you.
Technically speaking Apple and Boeing would need to deploy thousands of LEO satellites, some suspecting their hovering orbit moving to sub-1,000 miles above the planet surface. Many companies are racing to towards the same solution, but with Apple's vast financial resources and Boeing's know-how, the combined force could get there first.
Cost of this massive program would not be a big deal, at least when Apple is involved. Competing companies such as Airbus are focusing on large-scale deployment of sub-$1 million satellites for such a blanket the globe program. Whether or not satellites cost $1 million or $10 million each, it won't matter for Apple as they can fund it, Boeing can build it, and we can reap the rewards.
The ways in which this powerful mesh network of satellites can enrich the lives of Apple device users would be nothing short of amazing. Need an updated map for hiking Glacier National Park - while in Glacier National Park? Done. Want to make a call from Kathmandu to your neighbor to remind them to water your lawn? Easy as having Siri give them a call. Want to watch the NBA finals in Cabo San Lucas – in English mind you – no problem. You'll get that US-based ESPN feed. And when life is critical, making a 911 call for help in the middle of nowhere for life flight support will happen. Saving lives via Apple's satellite mesh network becomes reality.
Apple could construct TV network bundles per device, regardless of location. A groundbreaking paradigm shift in the way network contracts and regional contracts work today. Apple wouldn't require any work with, say, Brazil's networks and LAN monopolies. License fees and technicalities aside, you could have your network bundle wherever everywhere in the world at any time. The services Apple could provide would be akin to being in your living room, only you could be on the top of Everest and your services would be the same. Amazing.
Are the Comcasts and Time Warners of the world days numbered? While not right around the corner, yes, yes they are. Imagine having Direct TV, Dish, Comcast, and Apple as choices. But Apple's pricing not only provides home TV cable bundles and internet access. It provides this to every device you have, everywhere, at all times, all encrypted and all secure. It's may be massive thinking by Apple. Much like building autonomous electric car, this is the type of "big" thinking founder Steve Jobs wanted Apple to pursue. It seems Tim Cook is living out Steve's dream. I for one can't wait.
Think about riding in an Apple autonomous vehicle, while Apple's machine learning via their satellites notice an erratically driving car coming your way at midnight on a dark highway in the mountains. Your car slows your speed, and moves cautiously to the side, avoiding a possible head on collision. You arrive in Denver, CO, rested and ready for the day, never aware any danger came you way – because it didn't. This is but one of the amazing possibilities of how Apple's Satellite network could change the world.
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