Deep in the wilderness, disaster strikes. You fall suddenly, feeling a sharp pain stabbing through your leg, and find you cannot stand up. Pulling out your mobile phone in the hope of calling for help, colour drains from your face as you look at the screen – zero bars of signal.
If you are lucky, weighing down your backpack is a back-up satellite phone to call for help. These hefty devices, reminiscent of the first mobiles sold in the 1980s, connect to orbiting satellites and are used by extreme adventurers, on ships, or in war zones and disaster areas devoid of mobile communications.
Apple is set to release its newest iPhone this week.Credit:AP
These expensive and unwieldy devices use powerful technology to connect to satellites hurtling around the earth at hundreds of kilometres an hour. It is a difficult trick to pull off.
Smartphone manufacturers have traditionally avoided this technology. That could be about the change. Soon, you could be catching up on your WhatsApps via satellite from the iPhone in your pocket.