Apple kills plan to turn iPhones into walkie-talkies | Cult of Mac

Apple kills plan to turn iPhones into walkie-talkies


Ham radio
An iPhone that can act like a ham radio was actually considered.
Photo: Pexels

An odd-ball scheme to let iPhone users talk to each other directly, device-to-device has reportedly been shelved.

This walkie-talkie feature would have required special hardware, and been used when cellular-networks aren‘t available.

An iPhone walkie-talkie

News that Apple was considering such a thing hadn’t leaked out before, so word of its existence and its apparent cancellation are coming at the same time.

The Information reports being told by two unnamed sources that:

Apple was working with Intel on the technology that would have let people send messages from their iPhones directly to other iPhones over long-distance radio waves that bypass cellular networks.

This would have been distinctly different from the walkie-talkie app on the Apple Watch, which runs over the same wireless networks used by cell phones.

Future iPhones would have included Intel cellular modems that allowed them to communicate with other devices over the 900 MHz/33cm radio spectrum used by two-way radios.

Or not

Rubén Caballero, an Apple VP in charge of sourcing 4G and 5G iPhone modems was pushing the walkie talkie project, but he left the company this spring. The project reportedly withered without his backing.

Also, Intel’s departure from the 5G modem business had to have been another blow. Apple will get its modems from Qualcomm in the future, and eventually make them itself.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.