Apple has announced the availability of Emergency SOS via satellite for its iPhone 14 lineup in Australia and New Zealand starting Today. This groundbreaking safety service enables users to message with emergency services even when they are outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage areas. In addition, users can share their location via satellite through the Find My app to reassure their friends and family while traveling in areas without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.
Emergency SOS via satellite is available on all models of the iPhone 14 lineup, including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The technology uses custom-designed hardware components and deeply integrated software to allow users to connect directly to a satellite. This service builds on existing features vital to iPhone users, such as Emergency SOS, Medical ID, emergency contacts, and Find My location sharing, offering the ability to connect to a satellite to share critical information with emergency services, family, and friends.
Emergency SOS via satellite is free for two years starting at the time of activation of a new iPhone 14 model. The service connects users to relay centres staffed with Apple-trained emergency specialists who are ready to contact Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) or emergency services call centres on the user’s behalf to get them the help they need.
The Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications, welcomed the launch of this innovative safety capability in Australia. She stated that the ability to contact Triple Zero with Emergency SOS via satellite when there is no mobile coverage is a strong backup to keep Australians connected in an emergency.
Emergency SOS via satellite works by providing users with an easy-to-use interface on their iPhone to get help utilizing a satellite connection. If users are not able to reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, a short questionnaire appears to help them answer vital questions with a few simple taps. This information is transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message to ensure they quickly understand the user’s situation and location.
After the questionnaire, the intuitive interface guides the user where in the sky to point their iPhone to connect and send the initial message. This message includes the user’s questionnaire responses, location, including altitude, iPhone battery level, and Medical ID, if enabled. The transcript with relay centre specialists can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts to keep them informed.
Apple has designed and built custom components and software that allow iPhone 14 to connect to a satellite’s unique frequencies without a bulky antenna. A text compression algorithm was also developed to reduce the average size of messages by 3x, making the experience as fast as possible. With Emergency SOS via satellite, users can send and receive messages in as little as 15 seconds in clear conditions.
Using the built-in Emergency SOS via satellite demo, users can test satellite connectivity on their iPhone by connecting to a real satellite in range without contacting emergency services, allowing them to experience the process and familiarize themselves with the service.
Overall, Emergency SOS via satellite is a game-changing service that offers a reliable backup for users in emergency situations, especially when they are outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage areas. With this technology, iPhone 14 users in Australia and New Zealand can rest assured that they can contact emergency services when needed, even in remote and rural areas.