Apple terminates “Walkie-Talkie” project just before release of iPhone 11

According to several reports, Apple has stopped work on a system that would have enabled two iPhone owners in close proximity to send messages to each other without using a cellular network. Apple and Intel were reportedly cooperating on the project, which uses long-distance radio signals. It’s very similar to a Walkie-Talkie, except that it sends text messages instead of voice.

According to one source, the system would have transmitted over the 900MHz band by using the Intel cellular modems built into 2019 iPhones. The fact that Apple plans to start using Qualcomm’s modem chips again next year could, therefore, be the reason for terminating this project. Another reason could be that the father of this project, Rubén Caballero, is no longer with Apple. The company might decide to take another look at this technology at some point in the future, after 2025.

A firm called goTenna has developed a fairly similar technology. Its Mesh accessory retails for $179 a pair. The devices use an app and Bluetooth to pair with a smartphone to set up a mobile network where users can send personal or group messages within a four-mile radius. No satellite or cellular network is necessary.

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 11 on 10 September. It will offer screen sizes of between 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches. The two Pro models will come with OLED panels and possibly a smaller type of Apple Pencil. All three models will feature a square rear camera module, which will contain three rear cameras in the case of the Pro models and two for the LCD model.

Battery power will be boosted, with the 6.5-inch Pro model, for example, featuring a 4000mAh battery. This should be convenient when using your 2019 iPhone as a wireless charging pad for your Apple Watch, AirPods, or compatible phone. The 2019 models will also offer improved water resistance, allowing owners to use the touchscreen while underwater.

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