Apple has cancelled a neat walkie-talkie feature for iPhone – report

Apple has halted plans to launch a text-based walkie-talkie feature for iPhone, according to a report on Monday.

According to The Information‘s sources, the California tech giant had been experimenting with a feature that would enable users to communicate in remote areas where cellular signal was limited.

Rather than the Apple Watch feature of the same name, which transmits voice messages over cellular or Wi-Fi networks, the iPhone version would have utilised long-distance radio waves to transmit text.

The feature – dubbed Project OGRS inside Apple – would have helped those within a certain vicinity of each other stay in touch, even when the signal bars were non-existent and Wi-Fi was nowhere to be found.

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This may have proved useful in remote areas at land or sea, and similar technology is already deployed by the oil and gas industries, the report says (via Engadget). So why has Apple dropped what seems like it could be a very useful feature, especially in emergency situations?

Well, it seems the tech was tied into the use of Intel cellular modems, according to the report. Seeing as Apple is now back in bed with Qualcomm following some legal wrangling and Apple has now snapped up Intel’s smartphone modem business, it would make sense the feature might take a little more time to perfect.

However, the report says the now-departed Apple executive Rubén Caballero was in charge of the project. Whether it’ll become someone else’s baby, or will die alongside his Apple tenure remains to be seen.

Apple’s existing walkie-talkie feature was temporarily suspended earlier this summer, after a security loophole made it possible to eavesdrop on other iPhone users. Apple quickly issued a fix and was confident the flaw was never explored.

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