Apple is looking to develop the new feature on current iPhone models.
Back in September, Apple announced that they would be adding a new feature to iPhone 14 smartphones: Emergency SOS. This feature would allow users to send text messages to emergency services, even when out of range of a wireless tower, thanks to connection to low-orbit satellites.
This week, Apple spoke further on the feature, divulging that they will be investing $450 million into a variety of companies and services to facilitate its usage and spread. The majority of these funds will be going to Globalstar, the company that owns and operates the satellites it uses. With the money, Globalstar is planning on shoring up both its existing satellite infrastructure and the various operating systems that maintain them.
“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 on the company’s blog. “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.”
— The Verge (@verge) November 10, 2022
“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. “With Apple’s infrastructure investment, we’ve grown our teams in California and elsewhere to construct, expand, and upgrade our ground stations, and we look forward to the next chapter in Globalstar’s lifesaving technology.”
Emergency SOS has been confirmed to be free to use for at least two years, though it isn’t known if Apple will add a usage fee afterward.