During its “Far Out” event, Apple unveiled its all-new iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models with some big upgrades to displays, cameras, more. Regardless, one of the biggest changes is the addition of SOS satellite connectivity.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro series support satellite connectivity through a new version of Emergency SOS. The feature – restricted to the United States and Canadian users as of now – will launch this November and will be free for the first two years.
According to many reports, Apple is working with Globalstar on this feature. Elon Musk added to the conversation that he’s also had ‘promising conversations’ with Apple about a potential Starlink deal.
We’ve had some promising conversations with Apple about Starlink connectivity. iPhone team is obv super smart.
For sure, closing link from space to phone will work best if phone software & hardware adapt to space-based signals vs Starlink purely emulating cell tower.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 8, 2022
Apple isn’t the first to announce a smartphone with satellite connectivity. A day before the Apple event, Huawei jumped on Apple’s satellite announcement by launching its Mate 50 lineup, which also comes with satellite-enabled texting. But for good or bad, Huawei’s devices aren’t sold in the U.S.
Moreover, SpaceX announced a partnership with T-Mobile last month to provide text messaging via satellite in areas with weak or no reception. It will be available next year.
Apple formally declared its partnership with satellite communications company Globalstar to provide satellite infrastructure for this feature.
Alongside this announcement, Apple also stated that it would expend $450 million from its advanced manufacturing fund to extend the satellite infrastructure. Globalstar will receive most of this funding, it seems.
When the service launched this November, the iPhone 14 phones would be the first commercially available smartphones with a satellite in the U.S.