Unfortunately, the first generation is unlikely to experience it.
The "Far Out" event next week surely feels... space-y if you're the sort to interpret event taglines from Apple. It has prompted Apple analysts to rekindle suspicions that the company may be developing satellite functionality for emergency communications, maybe for the Apple Watch Pro as well as the iPhone. Satellite capabilities might elevate the Apple Watch Pro to the level of a serious competitor to Garmin in the multisport GPS watch market.
To really compete in this market, Apple needs to make a lot of changes. The first and second items on the list are multiday battery life and increasing durability. In these two areas, the competition—Garmin, Polar, and Coros—can outperform the Apple Watch. But if there's one area where Apple already dominates, it's the fall detection and emergency calling capabilities.
For daring explorers, reliableemergency communication might be crucial and perhaps life-saving. Although GPS and LTE connectivity has evolved over time, there are still numerous isolated locations where there is no coverage.
Even seasoned hikers, campers, and endurance athletes may become disoriented in those conditions or become trapped if they sustain an injury in a cellular dead zone. Because of this, many people carry satellite phones or Garmin's inReach devices, which are portable, two-way satellite phones with location-sharing capabilities. Athletes nearly always desire to stay light and agile, yet these equipment can be large and add weight.
Apple's emergency contact tools currently have a connectivity issue because they rely on LTE. Because of this, it is more dependable in regular circumstances than for outdoor enthusiasts. Similar to this, several of Garmin's smartwatches have fall detection and emergency contact functions, but they also need a connection from your phone or must be coupled with an inReach device.
Some expensive multisport watches do currently contain satellite functionality. The problem is that they're less concerned with emergency communication and more with increasing location accuracy. Dual-frequency satellite communication or multi-band GPS are used by watches such the Coros Vertix 2and the Garmin Fenix 7. When GPS first launched, it had two frequencies: L1 for civilian usage and L2 for military applications. L5, a more recent frequency, is available. Watches that allow dual-frequency satellite communication tout enhanced location accuracy in difficult situations, however it is not yet 100%. They simply can't transmit that information at the moment until your phone has a signal as well.
A smartwatch with LTE and satellite connectivity for location sharing and emergency communications? It is simple to understand why that would appeal to people who enjoy the outdoors.
Sadly, it doesn't appear likely that the initial Apple Watch Pro model will include satellite functions. Although Apple had previously contemplated adding satellite features to the Apple Watches, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman stated in his most recent Power On newsletter that it would "make sense for a future iteration of the new more durable Apple Watch Pro."
Although somewhat disappointing, that wasn't entirely unexpected. Apple must cooperate with wireless providers even if it can design technology that supports satellite connectivity. The feature was allegedly finalized for the iPhone 13 according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, but Apple was unable to find out how to make it a reality.
Even still, it's an alluring possibility considering that Apple still has ground to make up in terms of durability and multiday battery life. It also relies on whether the so-called Pro does well enough to receive a second or third iteration. If Apple can make it work, though? That would certainly make a fuss.