# The Future is Now: APPLE's Stellar Leap into Satellite Messaging with iOS 18

Apple keeps pushing the edges of modern communications technology ever-outward. Recently, Apple announced they were getting into satellite messaging – in a manner of speaking. The next generation operating system for the iPhone, currently known as iOS 18, would be not just a mobile phone, technically speaking, but rather Apple’s revolutionary satellite communicator. This technology, initially brought to Apple devices in the iPhone 14 line through the feature Emergency SOS, was meant to keep users connected to the rest of the world even when they were no longer able to rely on cell towers or Wi-Fi.

Apple's Ambitious Stratosphere: Beyond Traditional Connectivity

When you travel to some of the most remote mountains or across the open oceans, where you’re free from the glow of that digital umbiliche, your iPhone will start to glow again. And a notification will appear offering you the option to connect using satellite communications, as if to prove that, where Apple is concerned, there really are no dark places on Earth anymore.

How Does Satellite Messaging Work?

It is only when you step away from terrestrial nets that Apple’s satellite service can really be employed: a tap will help you point your device at the satellites overhead, and connecting through Messages in the app or via the Settings tab makes issuing a message from a nowhere seem like easy business.

A Glimpse into the Process

It isn’t a matter of locking onto a signal; it is a celestial dance that, if done correctly, makes you a part of the dance. The satellites move through the sky at thousands of kilometres per hour. Instructions point you in the direction of your device. If the sky between you and the satellites is clear, the satellites pick up your signal, which results in your screen lighting up with a green check mark. You have connected with someone, somewhere.

The Evolution of Messaging

The move to satellite isn’t just about a connection becoming the main event; it’s about what’s maintained. While your message is sent more than 800 miles above, the text, emoticon and tapback reply to keep the conversation going are somewhat earthbound. Don’t expect to be able to send your latest selfie or viral video, however: such files are too complex and large to squeeze through the narrow satellite paths.

Keeping Conversations Exclusive

In a neat trick, Apple makes sure that nothing in the remote wilderness can break the silence with the whirring of advertisements. Only those in the digital shadows can send the first ping. (There’s an exception for those users who are emergency contacts and iCloud family members.) Apple’s philosophy of technical reductionism shines again, a laserlike focus on necessity: Apple makes satellite communication work, without going beyond the essentials.

Security in the Stratosphere

So security isn’t neglected either: Apple supports end-to-end encrypted iMessage, ensuring that the scope of privacy extends beyond the terrestrial network. SMS joining the satellite suite is a cross-network compromise, but maintains its lack of end-to-end encryption.

The Price of Reaching the Stars

If Apple can indeed deliver, when its phone interacts via satellite, it will be in areas where cost considerations are even more important than notifications or photos. Those details remain as shrouded as the space through which the communications signals fly, but right now a service that works for iPhone 14 (with more models to come) runs free and the three-year trial period hints at its desire to normalise the use of the tech in everyday life.

The Road Ahead: iOS 18 and Beyond

And with the introduction of iOS 18 next year, the future of liftoff for iPhoners looks bright. From earth to space, the future is a fusion of terrestrial and celestial communication, the promise of a future where connecting, or not, is a choice, not a matter of location.

Exploring the Core: APPLE at a Glance

The engine of this innovation is Apple, which has never stopped advancing electronic and digital technologies since its first iPhone and then continued to deliver new satellite communication, interactive capabilities, brand-new levels of usability and performance year after year since the iPhone’s first introduction. Apple will always be a leader in its field, in improving the usability, performance, and privacy of users, as well as extending capabilities to a wider and wider audience.

If we look to the apple-red sunset of progress ahead, then, Apple’s voyage through the firmament of communication is a young one. With software updates and feature extensions, Apple is weaving connections, linking worlds.

Jun 14, 2024
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