As Sting once famously sang on the Police hit song, Message in a Bottle, “I'll send an S.O.S. to the world”. Well, now he can, thanks to Apple’s Emergency SOS that has recently launched in France, Germany, Ireland, and the UK as well as the US.
So, it doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your leg exploring the Pyrenees, lost your map in the Black Forest, or you’re stuck up to your waist in a bog in Ireland, if you’ve got an iPhone 14, you can now contact emergency services via a satellite, even when there’s no mobile phone connection available in your area.
But how does it work? Well, when there’s no other coverage available you can dial 112 or do a long press on the volume and power buttons to call emergency services. You then answer a short questionnaire which is transmitted to dispatchers in the initial message. Then the interface shows you where to point your phone in the sky so that it connects with a satellite.
Once a message is received, Apple has relay centers staffed with Apple-trained emergency specialists who are ready to contact emergency services on your behalf to get them to help.
Apple says this will save lives, but I’m left wondering about one thing. What’s the point of all this technology if an iPhone battery still won’t last more than a day? If I’m trekking through the Alps, I’m pretty sure it’s going to take more than a single phone charge...
iPhone 14 is so draining... literally
When the iPhone launched, back in 2007, one of the major criticisms was the battery life. We’d been used to non-smart phones before then that lasted days on a single charge, but we were happy to sacrifice battery life for the ability to watch a cat video on YouTube. I'm not the only one who regrets that trade-off.
I seem to spend my life worrying that my phone is charged enough to last until my next charging opportunity. My days are starting to feel like they’re divided into quick dashes between iPhone chargers. It's 2022 and Apple's best iPhone still only lasts about a day on a single charge. And while the cat videos have progressed into blockbuster movies, FaceTime video chat, social media apps, and all the things we use our phones for in 2022, we’ve just kind of accepted the battery life situation without question.
Maybe I’m being too harsh though, as Apple’s S.O.S service may already have saved a life. According to a report by the Alaska Department of Public Safety, State Troopers, a man who became stranded on a snowmachine contacted emergency services via satellite.
Undoubtedly, Emergency S.O.S. will save more lives as time goes on. But I’m still left with one question. For a device that is so critical for our communication, how many more lives would be saved by a longer-lasting battery?
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With over 25 years of experience in the technology sector Graham Barlow has written for, edited and worked on some of the best technology titles in both print and digital, like MacFormat, Mac|Life, MaximumPC and Linux Format.
He also writes for websites like TechRadar, Top10Reviews, T3.com and blogs about martial arts.