iPhone 14 or not, this keychain accessory can use satellites to help save your life

Motorola Defy Satellite Link
(Image credit: Bullitt)

The iPhone 14 might be able to talk to satellites and call for help if you need it, but you might not have to rush out and buy Apple's best iPhone just to save your life.

That's because a new accessory from Motorola and Bullitt is designed to slip onto a keychain and connect to any iPhone (or Android phone, if you really must) and then act as a satellite intermediary. The result? You're always online, no matter where you are. Or at least, so long as there's a satellite above your head.

As Apple's iPhone 14 marketing is quick to point out, that can be very handy in situations where you don't have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity yet need to call for help. But the Motorola Defy Satellite Link goes further. Unlike the iPhone satellite implementation, this one allows for two-way text messaging as well.

Reaching for the stars

In a press release for the new product, Bullitt says that the accessory is "especially relevant to all of us who have ever found ourselves outside of traditional messaging coverage." The system's two-way messaging feature works via a special app that's available for download on iOS and Android, and anyone who receives a message from it will get an SMS asking them to download the app themselves.

The hardware itself fits on a keychain and is designed to be as rugged as you'd expect for an accessory built to save lives in remote areas. That means that it's IP68-rated and has a 600mAh battery that's said to provide "sufficient battery life for multiple days of use." There's also a physical SOS and location check-in button, meaning you don't necessarily need your phone to call for help.

How does it work? "The device then connects directly to geostationary satellites 22,300 miles above the earth," Bullitt says. It isn't immediately clear how easy it is to actually connect to them, however — Apple's iPhones guide users through the Emergency SOS via Satellite connection process to ensure a solid link has been made.

None of this is going to come for free, though. The unit on its own costs $99 / €119 / £99 while a bundle that includes one year of subscription to the Essentials Messaging service will set daredevils back $149 / €169/ £149. That includes 30 two-way messages per month as well as the SOS Assist functionality. As for availability, expect to see this thing ready to go by April 2023, we're told. Apple also charges for its Emergency SOS feature, but offers two year's free with an iPhone 14 purchase, beyond that we don't know how much it will cost. 

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.