Apple could launch the satellite phone connectivity for iPhone 14 outside of North America before the year is out, according to a new report.
The SOS feature, which enables owners of the latest iPhone handsets to link up to satellites to make contact with emergency services, when cellular or Wi-Fi is unavailable, will only be available in the United States and Canada initially.
That’s a minor annoyance to Brits who enjoy going off the beaten track who may have pondered upgrading their handset to access the feature. However, it may not be long to wait, according to a report from long-running Swiss Apple publication MacPrime (via 9to5Mac).
An Apple representative reportedly informed the site other countries will be announced before the end of 2022 and into 2023. Unfortunately, for those eyeing an iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro upgrade when it does go on sale tomorrow, the company wouldn’t reveal which nations might be on deck.
The (translated) report said: “As Apple informed us today, the company will announce other countries this year and next year in which the SOS function will be made available via satellite connection. Which new regions it will be is still unknown.”
Apple has said anyone buying a compatible handset this year will get two years of free access to the satellite phone feature, which is a nice bonus considering standalone satellite phones and service can be quite expensive.
It’s possible Apple will begin charging a fee, because it’ll want to recoup some of the $450m it is spending on the tech involved in bringing the feature to Earth. Elon Musk says Apple has discussed using SpaceX satellites for the service, but Apple is currently using (and heavily funding) the rival Globalstar company.
When announcing the feature, Apple explained it’ll only be available in emergency situations when there are no other means of connectivity available. Users will be able to share their location via Find My and will answer some pre-loaded questions while the connection is being made, and messages have been compressed to ensure sending them is achieved faster.