Home Tech We tried Apple’s new SOS tool for when you don’t have cell service

We tried Apple’s new SOS tool for when you don’t have cell service

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CNN business

When Apple announced at its high-profile product launch in September event that it will be introduced soon Emergency SOS function Powered by a network of satellites orbiting the Earth, Brooklyn probably wasn’t the most secluded place to use it.

But on a rainy afternoon last week, I found myself trying to stay connected to one of Prospect Park’s satellites as part of an upcoming feature demo. Coming out from under the big oak tree, It began to rain heavily. He then moved the device slightly to the right and quickly regained access to the signal and continued his message with the emergency caller.

Rain was no problem.It was a leaf limiting my phone sky view.

Tuesday, Apple

will launch and roll out Emergency SOS via Satellite for iPhone 14 users in the US and Canada. Coming next month in the UK, France, Germany and Ireland. The free feature promises to let iPhone users contact a dedicated dispatcher via satellite in an emergency when cellular networks are unavailable.

Hikers, emergency responders, and intrepid travelers are likely familiar with the existing world of satellite phones that provide voice, SMS, and data services anywhere on the planet. However, existing satellite phones often have large antennas sticking out. Apple said it wanted to invent technology that would allow direct communication with satellites inside the iPhone form factor.

Arun Mathias, Apple’s vice president of wireless technologies and ecosystems, told CNN Business: “Then we made the necessary hardware changes to the iPhone, but it didn’t have the bulky antenna.” He added that he designed the experience.

The effort is part of a wider consumer pitch this year that the company’s devices not only help people live better lives, they also help them live safer lives.In the process, expensive products can become a little more visible more essential In an uncertain economic environment that is costly to rethink.

apple recently Invested $450 million Globalstar, a global satellite service, and other providers supporting the development of 24 low-earth orbit satellites that fly at 16,000 miles per hour at altitudes higher than the International Space Station. The investment is part of Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund and was previously used by Corning for laser technology for glass production and facial recognition.

during my test On my Apple-provided iPhone 14, I tried to call 911 and was automatically redirected to Emergency SOS via the satellite dispatcher for demonstration purposes. If the device was unable to connect to cellular service, a small green icon appeared in the lower right corner of the call screen and initiated a text conversation with emergency services.

I was asked to complete a questionnaire and answered a few short multiple choice questions. I got lost and found myself uninjured. Apple says surveys help gather important information more quickly, as users may be distressed. (This is the same set of questions that the 911 dispatcher asks.)

“We tested this with a field dispatcher and were even told that in some situations, the answers from the survey and the location of the user might be enough to actually do the dispatch. Apple said Trey Forgety, Software Engineering Manager for Emergency Systems at .

About 20 seconds later, I received confirmation that my geolocation coordinates had been sent to the dispatcher along with my medical ID, emergency contact information, and an answer to my question. I was told to keep the response short in order to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the satellite and back to the dispatcher. We were also asked to identify nearby landmarks and where we entered the park. My total exchange lasted about 4 minutes.

According to Apple, the size of the text is reduced to about one-third of its original size by running it through a compression algorithm. This allows satellites to more efficiently route messages to ground stations around the world. Once received, the text is sent to local emergency services or a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists for assistance.

However, even in urban areas, there have been times when satellites have become inaccessible when the sky is not clearly visible.A grayscale circle with a green signal image appeared It turns yellow when connected and turns red when connection is lost.I walked To find the satellite, we moved about 200 feet away from our original location. Once there, I naturally held the device in my hand. Apple said there’s no need to pick it up or swing it around.

“Since the satellites are moving, the phone may have to travel from one satellite to another, and there may be short gaps where no satellite is available,” Matthias said. We are aware of this and will make it very clear to our users that there are such gaps and let them know when the next satellite will be available.”

The life-saving potential of such a feature, if it works, is clear. but, A few caveats.First is the text That’s it; the user must physically hold the device in their hands to initiate the exchange. However, the tool works in tandem with the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch crash detection features, so it can automatically dial emergency services or call a coordinator if the user is unconscious or unable to access the iPhone. You can send coordinates.

Emergency SOS via satellite currently only works in English, Spanish and French. dispatcher Get professional interpreting services available in more languages. Apple says it may not work in all regions, including regions above 62 degrees latitude, including Canada and northern Alaska.

For iPhone 14 users who want to see how the tool works and test the process of searching for satellites, a demo is now available in the settings under “Emergency SOS by satellite”. Apple says the feature will be free for his two years, after which it will re-evaluate the product based on usage during that time.

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