There could have been a scenario wherein we would have communicated via text messages without any cellular network on an Apple device. However, the feature has been shelved by Apple (for now at least).
As per a report by The Information, Apple’s Walkie Talkie feature for iPhones is on hold for now, as suggested by two people close to the project.
Apple’s Walkie Talkie Feature
The Walkie Talkie feature works on a wireless technology that allows two iPhone users to talk to each other over radio waves (900MHz radio spectrum), without cellular network. The feature would have worked as a traditional walkie-talkie, except this one was for messages.
It is suggested that Apple had partnered with Intel for the technology, to be incorporated into iPhones with Intel chips. While Apple had codenamed the project as OGRS (pronounced ‘Ogres’), Intel named it Project Shrek.
The now-dead Walkie-Talkie feature for the iPhone is not to be confused with the Walkie Talkie feature available for the Apple Watch. The latter allows users to send push-to-talk (PTT) audio calls via FaceTime.
What Made Walkie-Talkie Go Dead?
While Apple hasn’t officially announced a reason for the decision, it is suggested that Ruben Caballero’s exit from Apple (the one who headed the project) could be a significant reason for the halting of the project.
Another possible reason is Apple’s switch from Intel to Qualcomm for smartphone chips, which could have resulted in the decision to drop the feature.
Could the Walkie-Talkie Feature Return?
While Apple and Intel haven’t commented on the development, Apple could re-launch the Walkie-Talkie feature, as tipped by various patents filed by Apple recently. The patents talk about the Off Grid Radio Service (OGRS) tech, which appears similar to the OGRS codename of the Walkie-Talkie feature.
Furthermore, Apple’s purchase of the Intel smartphone modem segment could help it in making the tech official in the future.
However, we lack concrete details regarding this. We will keep you updated once anything official is announced. Until then, keep on reading Fossbytes.