San Francisco: Apple has invested $450 million in developing the critical infrastructure that supports Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 models which will be launching “later this month” in the US and Canada.
Through the new service, iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models will be able to connect directly to a satellite, enabling them to message emergency services when they are outside of Wi-Fi and cellular coverage.
“Emergency SOS via satellite is a perfect example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.
“We are proud this service is enabled by leading US companies, and that our users can explore off-the-grid areas knowing they are still within reach of emergency services if they are in need,” he added.
A majority of the funding goes to Globalstar, a global satellite service based in the US. Apple’s investment provides significant improvements to Globalstar’s satellite network and ground stations, ensuring iPhone 14 users are able to connect to emergency services when they are off the grid, according to a report.
“The launch of Emergency SOS via satellite direct to iPhone is a generational advancement in satellite communications, and we are proud that Globalstar’s satellites and spectrum assets will play a central role in saving lives,” said Jay Monroe, Globalstar’s Executive Chairman.
If an iPhone user makes an Emergency SOS via satellite request, the message will be received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low-earth orbit.
The message is then transmitted from the satellite to custom ground stations located at key points all over the world.
When a ground station receives a text message, it will route the message to emergency services that can dispatch help, or to a relay centre with Apple-trained emergency specialists if local emergency services cannot receive text messages, said the report.