Update – August 11th
Following the comments by Mr. Ran Chengqi and numerous complaints about the exclusion of BeiDou, Apple confirmed in a statement made to the Global Times that its latest version of smartphones does use the data from BeiDou for determining location.
iPhone, despite having a major share in the Chinese smartphone market, is the only smartphone brand that does not support China’s own BeiDou Satellite Navigation System (BDS). A recent report from ITHome suggests that the upcoming iPhones may support the same.
Although, it is hardly any confirmation that it will be available this year based on the post but as per the recent report, Apple is currently debugging the iPhone 12 series which includes testing the compatibility of the Beidou system. The lack of support for BeiDou has resulted in complaints by iPhone users in China. So it is possible Apple might finally be bringing the feature this year or as early as possible.
“Apple will use the Beidou navigation system sooner or later. If the Beidou system is easy to use, they will, of course, use a better navigation system.”Ran Chengqi, Director: China Satellite Navigation Office
Even though it is similar to most Global Navigation Networks, like GPS, Glonass and Galileo, what makes BeiDou special is that it has a global positioning accuracy of more than 10 meters and timing accuracy of more than 20 nanoseconds. Its performance in the Asia-Pacific region is even better. It is currently an integral part of the Chinese power, finance, and telecommunications system.
Apple claims that the Beidou satellite navigation system is already an integral part of its phones since the iPhone 11, but the network support does not list “Beidou” independently. Subsequently, the company had to deal with numerous complaints from Chinese users while recent flagships from brands such as Huawei, Samsung, OPPO, Xiaomi, and others all list Beidou’s support independently.
In China, more than 70% of smartphones already support the BeiDou navigation service and used in over 200 countries and regions around the world. Furthermore, it has over 100 million users and more than 200 million daily services. Apple is expected to launch four new iPhones under the iPhone 12 series which would include two premium variants, and presently it is not clear which model will come with this technology.