Apple’s Satellite Services May Expand After Successful Launch of ‘Emergency SOS via Satellite’

The Emergency SOS via Satellite function was only released in four additional countries on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and a patent that was obtained on the same day reveals that Apple’s satellite aspirations may go much farther than just calling for assistance in an emergency situation.

While Apple’s patent discusses how the company may employ satellite communications for audio, video, and more, the emergency service is restricted to text-based conversations only.

Apple Sattelite Expansion

As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple’s satellite ambitions may go beyond just texting in an emergency, as suggested by a patent awarded on the same day as the service’s expansion to new nations. The proposal was seen by Patently Apple.

It states, “Satellite communications data conveyed by transceivers #28 and antenna radiators #30 may include media data (e.g., streaming video, television data, satellite radio data, etc.), voice data (e.g., telephone voice data), internet data, and/or any other desired data.”

Although only a small percentage of iPhone users would really benefit from it, Apple has already pledged $450 million to fund the satellite communications function. 

If this is only the beginning of something bigger, the first investment may seem more reasonable.

According to 9to5Mac, the standard Apple caveat about patents applies here; Apple protects much more ideas than it actually puts into goods and services.

The reason why the corporation would want to invest in satellite communications is perhaps that once the domain of explorers and boat owners, this technology is now accessible to everybody with an Internet connection.

Realted Story: First Reported Emergency SOS via Satellite Rescues Alaska Snowmobiler | See Most Prevalent Uses for Satellite Comms

Emergency SOS via Satellite

One of the most talked-about features during Apple’s September announcement was the ability to send an SOS over satellite in case of an emergency.

According to Apple, it is an intuitive app that emerges on iPhones when there is no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity to allow users to contact emergency services via satellite. 

To guarantee that dispatchers can immediately comprehend a user’s position and location, the app prompts them with a brief questionnaire that can be answered with a few clicks.

When the user is through with the survey, they just point their iPhone in the right direction, and the app does the rest, connecting and sending the first message. 

Users’ questionnaire responses, current location (including altitude), iPhone battery life, and Medical ID status (if enabled) are all included in this alert. 

Sending the user’s answers to a questionnaire and any subsequent communications via satellite connects them with either dispatcher who can receive text messages or relay centers manned by Apple-trained professionals who can make the call for assistance. 

Also, the user’s emergency contacts may be kept up-to-date by sending them a copy of the transcript.

The service first debuted last month in the US and Canada, and on Tuesday, it was made available in the UK, France, Germany, and Ireland. More nations will eventually join them.

Related Story: Apple iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Helps Alaska State Troopers Rescue a Stranded Man 

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