Apple has already made a pretty big mark. They make some of the most popular phones, they’re working on Augmented reality, automated cars and they have perfected the world’s easiest to lose earphones. Now Apple looks to be setting their eyes on the stars with ambitions to launch their own Internet satellites.
According to a report from Bloomberg Apple has just hired Alphabet’s John Fenwick and Michael Trela. Mr Fenwick was head of Google’s spacecraft operations and Mr Trela was head of satellite engineering. The two new hires are to join a team lead by dropcam co-founder Greg Duffy.
There are no concrete details as to what Duffy’s team will be working on. The inclusion of two people with extensive experience in the satellite sector is a bit of a giveaway. Boeing made a regulatory filing last year detailing a proposal to provide broadband access through satellites in low-earth orbit. The filing also suggested that Apple could be a co-investor which gives a good reason for the new hires. Everything suggests that Apple wants to get into the Internet Satellite business.
Facebook and Alphabet are by far the biggest players in the tech industry when it comes to delivering Internet over the air. Facebook focuses upon solar-powered drones and Alphabet is putting their efforts into drones and the hot-air balloon program, codenamed project loon. A move into Satellite Internet would be a first for the Smartphone giant and a surprising one, given their lack of history in the sector.
The satellite industry is a rough one and it is littered with bankruptcies and other failures but there is still a strong lure there. There is a huge untapped market in developing economies for fast Internet . New advances would allow apple to offer lower latencies and higher speeds than existing cellular alternatives. To put a number on it, Internet satellites are expected to be worth $30 billion by 2025. That’s 30 billion good reasons for Apple to get involved.
Apple is clearly trying to broaden their horizons and shift away from a reliance on consumer electronics. Apple is already working on their own self driving car technology and Satellite Internet would allow them to expand into another sector and expand their portfolio.
Apple clearly wants to broaden their horizons, but is the world ready for the iSatellite?