Is Apple looking into the satellite Internet business? Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reports that there’s a secret Apple research team has about a dozen engineers from the aerospace, satellite and antenna design industries working on a project to beam data such as Internet connectivity to devices such as the iPhone.
Quoting unnamed sources, he says the tech giant is hoping to see results within five years. He adds that “work on the project is still early and could be abandoned, the people said, and a clear direction and use for satellites hasn’t been finalized.”
In 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple had hired a pair of top satellite executives from Google for a new team, Bloomberg reports, suggesting that the iPhone maker may be looking at satellite broadband.
They were John Fenwick, who led Google’s spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, head of satellite engineering. They report to ex-Dropcam co-founder Greg Duffy. Apple hired Duffy in January, supposedly to lead a special project at Apple that’s operating like a startup within the company.
Apple has talked with Boeing about the latter’s plan to offer broadband via more than 1,000 low-earth orbit satellites, Bloomberg adds. Two years ago, Boeing announced that it was interested in making a deal with “top technology companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook or Apple.And SpaceX has forecast $30 billion in revenue from satellite Internet by 2025.
Gurman says Apple CEO Tim Cook has made the satellite project a priority. The report adds that the company’s “satellite team” has recently added people from the wireless industry, including engineer Matt Ettus, one of the foremost names in wireless technologies; Ashley Moore Williams, a longtime executive from Aerospace who focused on communication satellites; and Daniel Ellis, a former Netflix executive who helped oversee the company’s Content Delivery Network.