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Apple has recently hired John Fenwick and Michael Trela, two Google satellite executives, reports Bloomberg. Fenwick led Google's spacecraft operations, while Trela was head of satellite engineering.

Both Trela and Fenwick are reporting to Greg Duffy, the former co-founder of camera company Dropcam. What the two are doing at Apple is unclear, but Bloomberg speculates they're either working on satellites for image collection or satellites for communications.

Rumors have suggested Apple is using a fleet of drones to collect data to improve Apple Maps, with the company having filed for an FAA permit to be able to fly drones for commercial purposes. Apple also acquired Aether Industries in 2015, a previously unknown purchase.

Aether Industries develops high-bandwidth radio transceivers and high-altitude balloons. On its website, Aether Industries shows off a range of high-resolution aerial imagery and claims to provide a "full imaging and mapping solution for full color aerial images."

aethermapping-800x507.jpg

There's also evidence Apple is interested in deploying satellites for communication purposes. Boeing has been working on sending more than 1,000 satellites into low-earth orbit for the purpose of providing broadband access, and the company has reportedly been in talks with Apple.
The aerospace company has talked with Apple about the technology company being an investor-partner in the project, a person familiar with the situation said. It's unclear if those talks will result in a deal.

At the annual Satellite 2017 conference in Washington D.C. last month, industry insiders said Boeing's project was being funded by Apple, Tim Farrar, a satellite and telecom consultant at TMF Associates Inc., wrote in a recent blog. A Boeing spokesman declined to comment.
Former Boeing executive James Bell also joined Apple's board of directors back in October of 2015, another potential link between Apple and Boeing.

It continues to be unclear if Apple will get involved with Boeing's broadband endeavor, but it's easy to see why Apple might be interested with Boeing aiming for faster speeds than existing cellular systems.

Apple and Google declined to comment on the hiring, while Fenwick, Trela, and Duffy did not respond to Bloomberg's request for comments.

Article Link: Apple Hires Two Google Executives With Satellite Expertise
 

Asarien

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2015
378
3,409
What ever happened to their anti-poaching pact?

Or was it only when engineers and executives were leaving Apple?
 

mozumder

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2009
1,096
3,467
I'm surprised Apple just doesn't straight-up build it's own ISP service. They really need to cut out the middle-man, especially with net-neutrality gone. It's expensive, but Apple is one of the few companies that can do it.
[doublepost=1492799150][/doublepost]Also, satellite internet is really slow, and should only be used for emergency communications. The bandwidth just isn't there, even with a thousand low-earth satellites.
 

SeattleMoose

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2009
1,960
1,669
Der Wald
I'm surprised Apple just doesn't straight-up build it's own ISP service. They really need to cut out the middle-man, especially with net-neutrality gone. It's expensive, but Apple is one of the few companies that can do it.
[doublepost=1492799150][/doublepost]Also, satellite internet is really slow, and should only be used for emergency communications. The bandwidth just isn't there, even with a thousand low-earth satellites.

Boeing/Apple would be a good partnership. They are both leaders in their fields. The current "slow" technology will NEVER get better until time is spent refining and polishing it. Or by some new technology that emerges by design or accident and becomes a game changer.
 

mozumder

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2009
1,096
3,467
Boeing/Apple would be a good partnership. They are both leaders in their fields. The current "slow" technology will NEVER get better until time is spent refining and polishing it. Or by some new technology that emerges by design or accident and becomes a game changer.

It won't get better. There is a literal bandwidth limit to satellite communications.
 
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citysnaps

macrumors G3
Oct 10, 2011
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What ever happened to their anti-poaching pact?

Or was it only when engineers and executives were leaving Apple?

There is no anti-poaching pact.

Apple, due to Steve Job's illegal scheme, along with Adobe and Google, were slapped down pretty hard in Federal District Court for participating in that.
 

RobinInOR

macrumors 6502a
Sep 14, 2014
504
337
It won't get better. There is a literal bandwidth limit to satellite communications.
Yup, latency. Am on wildblue satellite internet and while better, you are still a slave to physics it's all in the distance. That's why I'm always interested in any lower altitude ideas.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,782
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Would love it if Apple became an ISP. We could cut out all of these companies that are monopolizing and manipulating our laws so they can sell our privacy without our permission. Apple would make a great set of dumb pipes, but it's probably going to cost us. I'd be willing to pay as anything they devise would likely be fast and secure. Satellites though? That sounds like a big challenge.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,344
5,557

That's existing satellite providers which only have ~60 satellites tens (hundreds?) of thousands of miles from the surface of the planet.

If you have a satellite network made up of thousands of satellites ~200 miles from the surface, the ping and bandwidth will dramatically improve, as well as the efficiency and battery consumption (another major issue with existing satellite internet you left off.)

As for price - if you reuse your rockets that put the satellites into orbit, you dramatically reduce that (that's why Google is heavily investing in SpaceX.)

And that final point is why I expect SpaceX's satellite internet (expected to be deployed within a year or two) to kick cellular's, and maybe also broadband's, behind. Not sure what Boeing's plan for deploying their own satellites affordably is... I don't think they've demonstrated reusability that even begins to approach what SpaceX has, yet.
 
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cube

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May 10, 2004
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That's existing satellite providers which only have ~60 satellites tens (hundreds?) of thousands of miles from the surface of the planet.

If you have a satellite network made up of thousands of satellites ~200 miles from the surface, the ping and bandwidth will dramatically improve, as well as the efficiency and battery consumption (another major issue with existing satellite internet you left off.)

As for price - if you reuse your rockets that put the satellites into orbit, you dramatically reduce that (that's why Google is heavily investing in SpaceX.)

And that final point is why I expect SpaceX's satellite internet (expected to be deployed within a year or two) to kick cellular's, and maybe also broadband's, behind. Not sure what Boeing's plan for deploying their own satellites.
How do you support billions of people?
 
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farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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try again with: https://arstechnica.com/information...lite-internet-with-low-latency-gigabit-speed/
[doublepost=1492802391][/doublepost]
That's existing satellite providers which only have ~60 satellites tens (hundreds?) of thousands of miles from the surface of the planet.

If you have a satellite network made up of thousands of satellites ~200 miles from the surface, the ping and bandwidth will dramatically improve, as well as the efficiency and battery consumption (another major issue with existing satellite internet you left off.)

As for price - if you reuse your rockets that put the satellites into orbit, you dramatically reduce that (that's why Google is heavily investing in SpaceX.)

And that final point is why I expect SpaceX's satellite internet (expected to be deployed within a year or two) to kick cellular's, and maybe also broadband's, behind. Not sure what Boeing's plan for deploying their own satellites.

exactly this. also, imagine the number of hops would be dramatically reduced once everyone starts getting on satellites. bottleneck would be scalability by the satellites.
 
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campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
3,413
954
What ever happened to their anti-poaching pact?

Or was it only when engineers and executives were leaving Apple?
What citysnaps wrote, but also more like due to Google selling their Terra Bella business to Planet Labs a couple of months ago. Google will lease back imagery from Planet Labs. The Terra Bella deal also includes a group of Google's SkySat Earth imaging satellites. I used to work with satellite and aerial images, mainly in Mr. SID TIFF format - I believe that Planet Labs has never owned hi-res imaging satellites, only medium-res units so this is a big get for them, I recall not seeing anything in the PR about a transfer of employees - I'm guessing the Google imaging/sat office is a bit more empty now.
 

quatermass

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2009
259
420
Wow - this is absolutely a Thing. And you can bet whatever is behind it is something nobody has thought of or spotted - yet. 1,000 sats in LEO is a big deal.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Under Tim Cook, Apple has consistently tried to become more like Google. Maps, ads, experimental projects, world comms. Wouldn't be surprised if Apple got into search engines soon.

Yup, latency. Am on wildblue satellite internet and while better, you are still a slave to physics it's all in the distance. That's why I'm always interested in any lower altitude ideas.

Yep, current satellite latency is why companies continue to lay underwater cables all around the globe. Even at light speed (186,000 miles per second), a few 22,000 mile geosynchronous orbit satellite hops (each way!) add up.

It's a lot faster to use a fiber cable at sea level (and below) to go around the world, where the max distance is closer to half the earth's circumference, or roughly a mere 12,000 miles.
 
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Damn it Apple, in the name of diversity, why not hire a someone who has a mastery of ordering from Just Eat, as I do!
If Jonny Ive want's a lamb shwarma at 0330, or Tim fancies a plum and orange duck chow mein first thing in the morning - I'm your man.

I can even read bedtime stories for creative geniuses suffering from insomnia, as my dull, monotonous British accent sends many of my co-workers to sleep.
 
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