Apple shelves feature that allowed iPhone messaging without cellular network
As Apple gears up to unveil the latest iPhones, a report from The Information has revealed that the company has shelved the fancy 'Walkie-Talkie' feature for its smartphones. The capability, going by the codename OGRS, was being developed to allow iPhone to iPhone communication even without a cellular or Wi-Fi network. Here's all you need to know about it.
Though Walkie-Talkies are not commonly used these days, Apple was working to bring the concept back to life. According to The Information, the company had partnered with Intel to develop the OGRS feature that would allow people using iPhones to communicate using long-distance radio waves. This would have sent messages instantly, enabling users to get in touch in remote areas without any cellular/Wi-Fi network.
The feature leveraged the cellular modems developed by Intel and sent messages over the 900MHz radio spectrum, which is commonly used by the utility, oil, and gas industry. Apparently, its development was going on at a brisk pace but then Apple chose to shutter the effort. The reason for the action also remains unclear at this stage.
While Apple has not commented on the matter, reports speculate that the shutdown could be driven by the departure of Apple executive Rubén Caballero. Caballero was the lead in charge of the project, but he left the company in April this year. Notably, this shutdown could also have something to do with Apple's plan to start using Qualcomm modems in 2020.
Apple has shelved Walkie-Talkie, but that doesn't mean it can't return. The company has got a series of patents associated with this technology and could choose to continue the work in the future. For all we know, iPhone users would definitely love the ability to send messages even when the network is broken or not available at all.