Apple May Invest in Boeing Satellite Broadband Project
Recent hires suggest that Apple is looking to the skies, as it has recruited top Google satellite executives for a new hardware team, Bloomberg reports.
John Fenwick, who led Google's spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, head of satellite engineering, left Alphabet's Google for Apple in recent weeks, according to the report.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, as did Google.
With the recruits, Apple is trying to expand to the expensive field of satellite design and operation.
In a regulatory filing last year, Boeing detailed a plan to provide broadband access through more than 1,000 satellites in low-earth orbit. The aerospace company has talked with Apple about the technology company being an investor-partner in the project, a person familiar with the situation told Bloomberg. 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.
Google and Facebook are also trying to connect billions of people who don't have internet access yet.
On the other hand, Apple may have hired the Google executives for something other than satellite work. It's already trying to use drones to capture and update map information faster than its existing fleet of camera-and-sensor ladened minivans.