Apple could be looking for a future where it doesn’t rely so heavily on traditional wireless carriers.
Amazon, SpaceX and Facebook are all exploring using satellites to provide a new way to connect devices. According to a new report Friday, Apple may soon be added to that list.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg says that Apple has “a secret team working on satellites and related wireless technology, striving to find new ways to beam data such as internet connectivity directly to its devices.” The team currently consists of roughly a dozen people, the outlet adds, with the company hoping to deploy “their results within five years.”
Bloomberg cautions that while CEO Tim Cook is interested in the project, it’s still early days and could be scrapped as “a clear direction and use for satellites hasn’t been finalized.”
While the satellites could potentially provide internet, which could then allow Apple to have less reliance on traditional wireless carriers, the report says they could also be used for other purposes such as “more precise location tracking for its devices.”
Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.
The battle for space provided services is only expected to heat up in the next decade. Amazon announced its “Project Kuiper” plan for internet access via low-Earth orbit satellites earlier this year, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX filed an application for 30,000 similar satellites for its Starlink internet program in October. Other companies looking into satellite internet include Facebook and Telesat, the latter of which has already partnered with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.