Apple Hires Two Google Executives With Satellite Expertise

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
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.

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
53 months ago
satellite internet please. get rid of carriers and get rid of the complexity of using my iphone in a new country.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glideslope Avatar
53 months ago
Very interesting. Looks like Apple want's to go above the Cloud. :apple:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macduke Avatar
53 months ago
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.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mi7chy Avatar
53 months ago
My guess it's related to car communication.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mozumder Avatar
53 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SeattleMoose Avatar
53 months ago
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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iPad Pro July Shipping

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Now Delivers as Late as Mid-July

Wednesday May 5, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
While the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to launch in the second half of May, orders placed today are estimated for delivery as late as mid-July on Apple's online store in the United States — some two months later. The new 11-inch iPad Pro is faring better so far, with some configurations available for delivery in the last week of May. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR ...