Apple released a press release detailing the new satellite features for iPhone 14 series that will launch in November for United States and Canadian customers.
When iPhone 14 users do not have cell service, they can connect to a satellite overhead to send a short emergency text message and share their location with family.
The entire Emergency SOS project cost Apple a staggering $450 million. The investment was used to develop the infrastructure allowing off-grid backpackers to call for help outside mobile coverage. Some investment went towards creating infrastructure for the feature in partnership with satellite provider Globalstar.
The iPhone 14 series is the company’s first-ever satellite phone. Even though users won’t be able to make calls on it, they will soon be able to use the satellite connection to send messages to emergency services across the US and Canada.
“The launch of Emergency SOS via satellite direct to iPhone is a generational advancement in satellite communications. We are proud that Globalstar’s satellites and spectrum assets will play a central role in saving lives. With Apple’s infrastructure investment, we’ve grown our teams in California and elsewhere to construct, expand, and upgrade our ground stations. We look forward to the next chapter in Globalstar’s lifesaving technology,” said Jay Monroe, Globalstar’s executive chairman.
Apple has said this lifesaver feature would offer Emergency SOS over satellite as a free service for the next two years, and today’s release confirms that it will launch this month.
“To connect iPhone with the satellite network, users communicate over the mobile satellite services spectrum, which Globalstar has operated in the US for the past 20 years. With upgraded ground stations, and soon an updated satellite constellation, Apple and Globalstar will ensure the spectrum continues to enable emergency services,” explained Apple in their press release.