Elon Musk has revealed SpaceX has had discussions with Apple over a potential partnership that could see the iPhone use Starlink satellites for connectivity.
According to Musk, those discussions have been “promising,” but he did not reveal how close the two companies were to a potential partnership, or even if the discussions were ongoing.
The news comes just a few weeks after SpaceX announced a partnership with T-Mobile for Starlink satellite connectivity in cell signal “dead zones.” The service is set to enter beta testing next year, following the launch of new Starlink satellites with the technology that will enable the service.
The service will work on most major devices already on the market today, unlike Apple’s new Emergency SOS feature that it announced yesterday which will only work with the new iPhone 14.
Emergency SOS will work in much the same way as SpaceX and T-Mobile’s service will, allowing users to send messages through a satellite connection when there is no cell signal, although the big difference is that Apple users will only be able to message emergency services.
SpaceX has said their service will at first only allow messaging, before later opening up to voice calls and possibly video streaming.
Another difference is that Emergency SOS will require a monthly fee after the two-year trial period expires, whereas the SpaceX service will be free. Apple has not yet revealed how much Emergency SOS will cost.
Based on a regulatory filing on Wednesday, Apple partnered with Globalstar Inc. to use their satellite infrastructure.
We’ve had some promising conversations with Apple about Starlink connectivity. iPhone team is obv super smart.
For sure, closing link from space to phone will work best if phone software & hardware adapt to space-based signals vs Starlink purely emulating cell tower.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 8, 2022