Apple just recruited two Google executives with expertise in satellite development to create a new hardware team, according to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman and Mark Bergen.
The hires — John Fenwick, who led Google’s spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, head of satellite engineering — indicate Apple has an interest in developing satellites, and Bloomberg further reveals that it’s likely those satellites will be used for broadband internet, a theory backed up by insider information from Boeing.
Boeing laid out a plan to provide broadband internet access through over 1,000 low-earth orbiting satellites in a 2016 regulatory filing, and a source “familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg that Apple spoke with the aerospace company about coming an investor-partner in the project.
Further, TMF Associates satellite and telecom consultant Tim Farrar wrote in a recent blog post that industry insiders said Boeing’s project was being funded by Apple at the annual Satellite 2017 conference in Washington D.C.
Farrar noted that a Wall Street Journal article reported that Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies has forecast $30 billion in revenue from satellite internet by 2025, showing the potential of the field.
One of the major lures for tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook to develop broadband internet is to tap into the large demographic of people who don’t yet have internet access, notes Bloomberg. Facebook has long espoused this goal.
The report also states that Apple might be putting its satellite experts to work on something else closely related — such as drones or near space technology like high bandwidth radio transceivers or high-altitude balloons. Whatever it is, however, likely has its home in the sky.
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