Apple Confirms Emergency SOS via Satellite Launching on iPhone Later This Month

Apple confirmed today in a press release that Emergency SOS via Satellite for iPhone 14 models will launch in the US and Canada later this month. Apple has not given a specific release date or iOS version required for the feature.

Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT
Apple also announced that it is investing $450 million from its Advanced Investment Fund in the development of critical infrastructure that supports Emergency SOS via Satellite, with most of the funding going to the satellite partner. Apple Globalstar.

Apple said its investment will provide significant improvements to Globalstar’s satellite network and ground stations in Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Puerto Rico, and Texas to ensure iPhone 14 users can connect to out-of-grid emergency services.

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All four iPhone 14 models can connect directly to Globalstar satellites, allowing users to send text messages to emergency services outside of cellular and Wi-Fi range and share their location via satellite using the Find My app. The feature helps users point their iPhone to satellite and screen views.

According to Apple, a satellite message takes about 15 seconds to transmit in optimal conditions with a direct view of the sky and horizon, but it can take up to a minute for a message to sending it “under trees with light or soft leaves.” In environments with “heavy clouds” and “other obstructions,” the iPhone may not connect to the satellite at all.

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As a result of the investment, Globalstar’s ground stations have been upgraded to use new high-power antennas designed and built for Apple. Apple shared more information about how the feature works:

When an iPhone user makes an emergency SOS via satellite application, the message reaches one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low earth orbit traveling at a speed of 16,000 mph. The satellite transmits the message to custom ground stations located at key locations around the world.

When received by the ground station, the message is forwarded to emergency services that can provide assistance, or to a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists if the nearest emergency service location is unable to receive it. text message.

In a support document, Apple says Emergency SOS via Satellite will be available with the iOS 16 software update in November. The service will be free for the first two years, suggesting that Apple plans to pay for it themselves.

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Apple said the feature will roll out to other countries by the end of next year, but has yet to elaborate on these plans.

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