Apple makes Emergency SOS via satellite free for an additional year, but only for iPhone...

Shawn Knight

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What just happened? Apple has extended its Emergency SOS via satellite service for an additional year for iPhone 14 owners. The feature debuted in September 2022 on all iPhone 14 models and launched a month later. With it, users outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage can text with emergency services using satellites orbiting Earth that are operated by American satellite company Globalstar.

The feature can also be used to manually share you location with Find My to provide a sense of security while hiking or camping off the grid.

Two years of Emergency SOS via satellite service were included for free with the purchase of a new iPhone 14. Now, exactly one year after the service went live, Apple has extended it for an additional year for iPhone 14 users.

Kaiann Drance, Apple's VP of worldwide iPhone product marketing, said the service has already helped save lives around the world.

"From a man who was rescued after his car plummeted over a 400-foot cliff in Los Angeles, to lost hikers found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy, we continue to hear stories of our customers being able to connect with emergency responders when they otherwise wouldn't have been able to," Drance said.

The feature works in conjunction with other safety capabilities of the iPhone including crash detection, check in, and medical ID in the Health app.

Emergency SOS via satellite is also available on all iPhone 15 models, but Apple only announced the extension for iPhone 14 users.

Also worth noting is the fact that Apple has not put a price on the service yet. Perhaps the one year extension will allow them to better gauge its usefulness and value, leading to a justifiable price point. Seeing as it's one of those features that you probably wouldn't consider until it's needed, Apple could turn it into free perk for iPhone owners and market it as a differentiator among its rivals.

In related news, Apple also recently introduced roadside assistance via satellite that can connect users to AAA if they experience vehicle trouble while outside of cellular or Wi-Fi range. Apple said this service requires iOS 17, and that additional costs for certain roadside services provided by AAA may apply. Non-AAA members can utilize the service on a pay-per-use basis, we are told.

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So it's a personal locator beacon that comes with overpriced rectangle with a screen and a monthly fee.

I don't know what's more absurd. That Apple is touting this as some revolutionary feature or that this isn't already a feature in all phones because people are more likely to carry a phone than a personal locator beacon.

 
So it's a personal locator beacon that comes with overpriced rectangle with a screen and a monthly fee.

I don't know what's more absurd. That Apple is touting this as some revolutionary feature or that this isn't already a feature in all phones because people are more likely to carry a phone than a personal locator beacon.
Adding Sat connections costs money and possibly space inside the phone.

Most people won’t pay for this because they don’t think they will need it.

So not absurd that it is not in all phones.
 
Adding Sat connections costs money and possibly space inside the phone.

Most people won’t pay for this because they don’t think they will need it.

So not absurd that it is not in all phones.
Depends on how much it costs. I think it would be more practical to pair it with more popular Apple services and simply increase the price of that service rather than this feature alone.
And then there is the price. I highly doubt the price will be adequate. And that means even more likely that people will refuse to pay for it leaving it a near useless and unused feature.
Pair it with something popular is what I say.
 
Adding Sat connections costs money and possibly space inside the phone.

Most people won’t pay for this because they don’t think they will need it.

So not absurd that it is not in all phones.

The part that actually connects to the satellite is the cheapest part. Whenever you buy one you're mostly buying it for durability ratings they come with. Can work in certain temperature ranges, impact resistance, things like that. The majority of what makes them work is already in a cellphone. Licensing the patents to manufacture it into every phone would probably cost fractions of a cent per phone. Apple could offer fractions of a cent per phone and the agreeing party would still walk away with millions and maybe even a licensing agreement for a monthly fee. It's currently free for 3 years on iPhones and if you want it after that you have to pay a subscription to keep it on. Someone pays you a 1/10th of a penny to put it on someones phone and wait a few years and suddenly you're getting a subscription for $5/m.

I know the type of people this type of thing appeals to and most of them have iPhones. The thing about them is that some of them are so dumb that they would pay the subscription fee anyway just because they don't know how to check if it's on. Some people even think paying for something that's free makes it work better. There's a lot of foolish people out there.
 
Its getting absurd how far ahead of the competition Apple is these days. I traded in my tatty 2019 iphone 11 pro max for a 15 pro max and Apple gave me $300 for it. A 4 year old phone. By comparison the Galaxy S20 which came out 6 months later will be lucky to get $200 trade in value. Not only that but the S20 stopped getting updates years ago. Im sorry anyone buying a flagship Android phone these days just hasn't done their research. iphones are faster, supported for longer, more compatible, come with free satellite service and will glean you way more money back than its opposing Android equivalent. The only downside I can think of is that BMW app unlock doesnt work on iOS. But then ive encountered a lot of cars that dont even have Android Auto but they do have Carplay!

As for the satellite thing, I love it. I live in Washington state and am frequently without cell service. I was looking at buying a garmin for this but now my new phone does it and its free for at least 2 years. This is awesome for the users and Apple, whilst should rightly be criticised for a lot, should be praised for this.
 
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