On the new iPhone 14, 14 Pro, satellite SOS feature for off-grid emergencies- Internet not required

Apple is incorporating a limited type of satellite communication into new iPhones, allowing users to send an SOS even when they are disconnected from the internet, with no dish necessary.

| Updated on: Sep 12 2022, 15:10 IST
iPhone 14 in photos: A quick glance at Apple’s fascinating new flagship
iPhone 14
1/5 The iPhone 14 features a 6.1-inch Super XDR OLED display with Ceramic Shield Protection. The iPhone 14 gets the same but smaller notch design and form factor as last year’s iPhone 13. (Apple)
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2/5 The iPhone 14 is powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset which powered last year’s iPhone 13. Although Apple has claimed that this year’s A15 Bionic is an improved version of last year’s chipset. The A15 Bionic, although an year old, is still the fastest chipset in the market yet, making iPhone 14 still an amazing smartphone. It houses a 5 core GPU and a 6 core CPU. (Apple)
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3/5 Phone 14 gets the same 12MP main camera with a larger sensor with f/1.5 aperture lens and sensor shift stability. Apple claims an improvement of 49 percent in low light photography. and the 12MP ultra-wide camera. The front camera also uses the 12MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture. (Apple)
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4/5 iPhone 14 also has a new gyroscope sensor that can detect impacts of up to 256G. Apple also brings support for satellite connectivity on the iPhone 14, called Emergency SOS via satellite. Users can now use the Find My app to share their location with contacts. The service will be available from November 2022 and will be free for use for two years. (Apple)
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5/5 The price of the iPhone 14 starts at $799 for the 128GB variant. There is a 256GB variant which is priced at $899. If you want to go even bigger, the iPhone 14 also has a 512GB variant which is priced at $999. It is available in 5 colours - Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Purple, and Product Red. (Apple)
iPhone 14
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iPhone 14 to feature satellite connectivity, through which users can send emergency text messages even without mobile network. (Apple)

Apple is incorporating a limited type of satellite communication into new iPhones, allowing users to send an SOS even when they are disconnected from the internet, with no dish necessary. While it does not allow normal data, phone, or text communication, it will notify emergency agencies of your situation and position.

As per Tech Crunch, in the event of a backcountry injury or other emergency, users using an iPhone 14 or 14 Pro with an updated wireless chipset can use the emergency SOS capability.

This feature from Apple is different from the likes of satellite-based data and text connectivity incoming features from Lynk, T-Mobile and Starlink. These are effectively orbiting cell towers powerful enough to reach and receive signals from the surface, while Apple is apparently collaborating with Globalstar, a typical satellite communication service that works in bands that normally require a special antenna.

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As a result, users will need to point their phone at the satellite, which is obviously too small to see -- so Apple created a little guidance software that assists them in pointing it in the appropriate direction. However, bandwidth is extremely restricted, so once they are connected, they can select from a few pre-programmed messages such as what's the situation, is anyone harmed? And so on.

These reduce the amount of data involved and hence take less time to send; your battery level, position, and medical information will be automatically sent as well.

The operation should take no more than 15 seconds at most, however, if there is any tree cover or the alignment is poor, it could take several minutes. And no one will respond right away, it's a one-way dialogue. Your distress signal will be routed to a ground station and then to emergency services.

According to Tech Crunch, the programme, which will be accessible in the United States and Canada beginning from November, will be free for two years, according to Apple, though it did not specify how much it would cost after that time. Lynk and Starlink will almost certainly have their services fully operational by then, with the former aiming to give free emergency SMS and SOS functionality around the world. 

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First Published Date: 08 Sep, 23:26 IST