GALILEO and the Apple mobile

Within a month of the launch by Ariane 5 four new satellites of the GALILEO constellation to 18 satellites, manufacturers of components of location have already presented their new chips of location supporting the European GNSS. This allowed the Spanish company BQ to propose early September the first smartphone "Galileo-ready., equipped with the processorQualcomm Snapdragon 652, the Aquarius X 5 more.

We could expect to find the same chip in the iPhone 7 from Apple, that fitted for the iPad and iPhone 4S 3 all its mobile devices with Qualcomm communication processors, integrating GPS reception (US) and GLONASS (Russian), it is not. With this latest smartphone, Apple revives Broadcom, waived for 2012 to ensure these functions, by integrating a chip BCM47734.

Broadcom comes back on board

In the specifications of the iPhone Locator 7 Apple mentions only GPS and GLONASS. Past the moment of disappointment, We can wonder about that - mysterious - BCM chip47734, that seems specific to the iPhone 7. Indeed, on its web site (¹), Broadcom is the BCM chip4774, successor of the BCM4773 :

The BCM4774 Sensor Hub chip integrates a GNSS Receiver with a function of hub of sensors of second generation on a single chip. It supports at the same time Galileo, GPS, GLONASS, SBAS, QZSS, and Beidou […]
– Support of the European Galileo satellite system combined with the simultaneous support of six different satellite systems.
– Up to 95 percent of energy compared to standard GNSS receivers and systems Sensor Hub.
– 30 percent off of the surface of the map by integrating GNSS Receiver and the hub of sensors.
– hardware optimizations further increase energy savings
– Wi - Fi positioning built-in the chip using a communication protocol by direct connection to the family of connectivity Broadcom combo chip.

However Apple has announced that the A10 processor included its own hub of sensors (Sensor Hub), so if the BCM47734 also have a hub of sensors, Let's assume it to be disabled, or simply unused, in the iPhone 7.

Would it be permissible to think that support for GALILEO to be activated by an update of the iOS system ? Either Apple sees that this function is premature, and reserved a future successor to the iPhone 7, or a future iPad ? The question is unanswered so far.

GALILEO is tomorrow

With 18 the initial services satellites should be open before the end of this year (²) :

  • Search & Rescue (SAR) System integration Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue (MEOSAR) key contributor to the international search and COSPAT-SARSAT rescue service.
  • Public Regulated Service (PRS) Restricted encrypted signals intended for strategic industries and public service missions. Optimized and secured through mechanisms antijamming, and anomaly detection systems.
  • Open Service (OS) Free and open access service, for the general public, offering a precision of positioning meter. This service will cover car navigation, land and sea, and positioning on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc).

The constellation full before end 2020 will bring commercial services by subscriptions that should make up the bulk of the resources of the system.


The satellites currently in service, operational or in the testing phase, are now visible by the receivers. Satellites marked "F" in the table below are already transmitting valid navigation signals..

galileo_chartThe iPhone app View GNSS allows you to see in real time the constellations of networks sending a signal, including GALILEO, together or separately. We see also the SBAS (³).

It would be a shame to have to wait for a possible iPhone 7s or iPad Pro 2 within a year to use the European network. Remember there was a time, Fortunately over, where the American administration had put many sticks in the wheels of the GALILEO project.

(¹) Galileo, the point of view of a chip manufacturer
(²) Source : GSA
(³) = Satellite Based System increase SBAS. See Glossary.


4 Replies to “GALILEO and Apple mobiles”

  1. Hello,
    Thanks for the clarification on Gallileo, We will have on our future tablets.
    For the use of a point to ready meter ( see the cm ) do not forget that we with our boats are the marketing target audience for all these constellations of satellites. Cars without drivers, deliveries by drones and other new services need this precison. Gnss of our cars do not know if we are on the left lane or highway righr or worse on the parallel national, the embedded software positions us to the right because he knows we're in France, not with our English friends.

  2. 1 meter accuracy in GPS positioning, it is super. Must it be able to take advantage. Let's not forget that most of the charts are referenced from the geosphere WGS84, and that these cards have been lifted long before the advent of the GPS. These maps have therefore been retouched to "correspond" to the WGS84 geosphere.. On a map to the 1/40000, the geographer should draw its line with a positioning accuracy of +/-1 mm. 1mm on the scale 1/40000, it is 40 meters…
    For the anchor alarm, I can understand the need to the rigour of the 1 precision meter, but for the operation of mapping, It is perfectly useless.

Comments are closed.