One year ago today, Apple’s groundbreaking safety service Emergency SOS via satellite became available on all iPhone 14 models in the U.S. and Canada. Now also available on the iPhone 15 lineup in 16 countries and regions, this innovative technology — which enables users to text with emergency services while outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage — has already made a significant impact, contributing to many lives being saved. Apple today announced it is extending free access to Emergency SOS via satellite for an additional year for existing iPhone 14 users.
Apple’s in an interesting position with this service. Even though its currently limited to emergency usage—which is hopefully a pretty small percentage of overall eligible iPhone users—satellite connectivity isn’t cheap.
I was pretty confident Apple would kick this can down the road, and now they have. My guess is that it might (next year or the year after) introduce a paid tier that lets you do more with satellite connectivity—non-emergency messaging, for example—and use a charge for that to essentially subsidize free emergency functionality for all users.
Yes, Apple wants to continue to make money on this, but it definitely doesn’t want to be in a position of having a customer unable to use the service because they didn’t pony up for the monthly cost—that would not be a great look in those “look at all the people who are still here to celebrate their birthday because of Apple technology” videos.
—Linked by Dan Moren