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iPhone 14 comes with satellite calling: what is it and will it work in India?

iPhone 14 comes with satellite calling: what is it and will it work in India?

Sending an emergency SOS message without cellular connectivity is now a thing of the past. The new iPhone 14 models get.

Story highlights
  • It is now possible to send emergency SOS message from iPhone 14 series.
  • The service is only available in the USA and Canada, as of now.
  • Emergency SOS via satellite is going to be free for the first two years.

Satellite connectivity or, as Apple calls it, Emergency SOS via satellite, is one of the new advertised key selling points (KSP) of the latest iPhone 14 series. And believe me, when I say one of the 'advertised KSPs', there are very few of them this year around. In fact, even the satellite connectivity feature on the latest iPhone models is only available to use in the USA and Canada, irrespective of any region (barring a few places) you buy the iPhone 14 from. But what is this satellite connectivity in the latest iPhones' and what does it bring to the table? Is it a really important feature? How does it work? What's the status of its availability? Read on to find out everything about Emergency SOS via satellite on the iPhone 14 models.

What is Emergency SOS via satellite on the iPhone 14 series?

In simple words, satellite connectivity on an iPhone 14 will let a user send an emergency SOS message via the Messages app when there's literally no cellular connectivity or Wi-Fi connectivity on your iPhone. And by having no connectivity, do note that you cannot test out this feature by enabling airplane mode. But, on a serious thought, I really hope no one ever faces a dire situation where they are stuck in an emergency and they don't have any connectivity on their device.

How does satellite connectivity work on the iPhone 14?

According to industry pundits, Apple has gone for the Qualcomm X65 along with its own technological advancements for the emergency SOS messaging feature to work on the latest iPhone 14 series.

In theory, it might seem that the new satellite feature might not be that big of a deal. However, the fact is that there are a lot of complexities involved before this feature kicks in for a person to use it. For starters, a satellite is situated in the outermost layer of the Earth's atmosphere and has a very low bandwidth, which means, even sending a text message could be a huge challenge.

So, how this emergency satellite messaging works is that if someone gets stuck somewhere without any connectivity, and if the iPhone 14 detects that there's indeed no connectivity in the vicinity, the user will then be able to connect to a satellite for sending emergency texts. Granted, the iPhone detects a satellite and the feature kicks in. And when it does, Apple says, you'll have to point your iPhone towards the sky in the right direction. Of course, the phone will assist you with pointing in the right direction. And while this thing is going on, and before you can send the emergency text, your iPhone will also guide you through a series of prompts to make sure you provide enough information describing your situation. This way, responders will be able to better understand your situation.

Finally, once you have gone through the prompts, and your iPhone 14 is also linked to the satellite, all you need to do is wait for up to 15 seconds in regular weather conditions with a clear sky for your emergency message to reach a responder. Do note, the transmission time could also take more than 15 seconds, even minutes, depending on the weather conditions.

When will it be available in your region?

As I mentioned at the start, the Emergency SOS feature is only available for use in the USA and Canada. The service is expected to arrive on November of this year and will be free for two years for people who buy Apple's latest and greatest. But, even if you buy an iPhone 14 from India and, for instance, you visit the USA and on your trip one fine day, you find yourself stranded in a place with no connectivity. Be rest assured that your Indian iPhone 14 will also be able to take advantage of the emergency SOS feature in the USA. However, also keep in mind, users purchasing any iPhone 14 model from China, Hong Kong or Macau will not be able to take advantage of the satellite messaging feature.

What does the future hold?

While Apple didn't reveal a thing about its satellite provider during the launch event, numerous reports have pointed out, Globalstar has allocated up to 85% of its network capacity to Apple. And, seeing all the action, even Android phone makers don't want to be left behind. Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android and Chrome, has tweeted that satellite communications are indeed coming with Android 14. In fact, various reports have already stated that Samsung is also expected to roll out the satellite SOS feature with the launch of the upcoming Galaxy S23 line-up.

Final words

With all said and done, the idea of sending emergency SOS messages from your iPhone is a solid move. And I think this will be a lifesaver for those who get stuck in dire situations without cellular connectivity. But the bigger question is, how much will the cost of the service be after the two-year honeymoon period? When will India get this feature? I guess only time will tell.