Apple working on emergency satellite messaging capabilities


Apple is reportedly working on emergency satellite messaging capabilities.

The company has been working on technology that will allow iPhone users to send texts and messages to their families and emergency services in an emergency situation, such as a hurricane or tsunami. The feature would let users report emergencies in areas with no service, too, potentially making it easier and safer than ever in poor-service locations.

Although the company has been working on satellite technology integration for a number of years, it’s unlikely to launch in 2021. Emergency Message via Satellite will let users text emergency services and their contacts when there’s no signal available. It will use gray message bubbles rather than the usual green and blue, and character counts will be limited.

As they would be designed only for emergency situations, messages sent this way would push through, even if users had do-not-disturb turned on. Another feature would let users report emergencies using satellite networks, using the user’s location and Medical ID.

Earlier this month, Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple would offer low earth orbit satellite communication connectivity as part of its iPhone 13 launch, but Bloomberg says it’s unlikely to come this year, and when it does, it’ll be exclusive to emergency situations only.

It’s also likely that they’ll be limited to some countries, depending on local regulations and satellite locations. Apple would also need to add a special modem chip to its devices to allow iPhones to connect to satellites. The company has reportedly considered launching its own satellites, but it’s decided that the new emergency features will use existing ones.

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