Apple Inc. iPhone 14 models contain chips from San Diego-based Qualcomm. According to an iFixit analysis of the phone and a statement from Apple, it can communicate with satellites.
The analysis determined that they also used additional custom-designed Apple components in the phone’s biggest new feature.
Apple released the new iPhone 14 series on Friday. One of the major new features is the ability to connect to satellites to send emergency messages when there is no WiFi or cellular data connection.
Apple said earlier this month that iPhone 14 models include new hardware for an emergency messaging service, which the company plans to enable when it rolls out a software update in November.
iFixit, a San Luis Obispo-based company that disassembles iPhones and other consumer electronics to assess how easy they are to repair, took apart an iPhone 14 Pro Max model on Friday, showing off a Qualcomm X65 modem chip.
The Qualcomm chip provides 5G connectivity for cellular networks, but is also able to use the so-called n53 band, which is used by Globalstar’s satellites. Qualcomm is headquartered in the Sorrento Valley.
Globalstar announced an agreement earlier this month in which Apple will take 85 percent of Globalstar’s satellite network capacity to enable Apple’s new emergency messaging feature.
In a statement to Reuters on Saturday, Apple said there is additional proprietary hardware and software in the iPhone 14 for new messaging features.
“iPhone 14 includes custom RF components and new software designed entirely by Apple, which together enable emergency SOS via satellite on new iPhone 14 models,” Apple said in a statement.
Apple did not provide details about the satellite-specific hardware. Qualcomm did not respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Luis Obispo; Editing by Leslie Adler)