Emergency SOS Available on iPhone 14 in United States and Canada
Today Apple announced at the Emergency SOS service that was previously announced at the September "Far Out" event now live on iPhone 14 devices. Emergency SOS is a satellite-based service that will allow you to contact emergency services if you are outside of cellular range. According to Apple the way that Emergency SOS works is as follows:
iPhone can quickly and easily call emergency services if a user is in need of help, even if they are unable to dial 911. With Emergency SOS via satellite — introduced with the iPhone 14 lineup - if a user is not able to reach emergency services because no cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is available, an easy-to-use interface appears on iPhone to get the user help utilizing a satellite connection. A short questionnaire appears to help the user answer vital questions with a few simple taps, which is transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message, to ensure they are able to quickly understand a user’s situation and location. Apple worked closely with experts to review standard questions and protocols to identify the most common reasons for calling emergency services.
Following the questionnaire, the intuitive interface guides the user where to point their iPhone to connect and sends the initial message. This message includes the user’s questionnaire responses; location, including altitude; iPhone battery level; and Medical ID, if enabled. The questionnaire and follow-up messages are relayed directly via satellite to dispatchers that accept text messages, or to relay centers staffed by Apple‑trained specialists who can call for help on the user’s behalf. The transcript can also be shared with the user’s emergency contacts to keep them informed.
In order to help minimize the amount of data everything is done via text, including with the pre-populated menu items for your emergency type. Furthermore, Apple has developed custom compression algorithims that will help reduce the amount of data sent over the satellite connection.
There is a feature with Emergency SOS that will allow you to provide your location using Find My, even without cellular connectivity. This is made possible with GPS that is in the iPhone. GPS does not require cellular to get your positioning.
Emergency SOS will not be limited to just the United States and Canada. It will be available in France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom in December. Emergency SOS is free for the first two years. Apple has not provided details on the cost of the service after that time.
I suspect that it will not be a typical service, in that you will not be able to use it if you do not subscribe. Instead, I think it will be available, but the pricing will be significantly higher than if you did subscribe. The reason I think this is that Apple does not want any stories about tragic outcomes due to someone not subscribing to Emergency SOS. It is also possible that it could be an additional tier for an Apple One bundle as well, or an add-on for Apple One. Time will tell how Apple plans to roll out the service after the initial free service timeframe.
Source: Apple Newsroom