Apple said Thursday it will spend $450 million with US companies to activate its new feature that allows users to send emergency messages via satellite.
The US tech giant added that the majority of the spending will be for Globalstar, which operates the satellites needed to make Apple’s new feature possible.
Under the agreement with GlobalStar, Apple will not take a stake in the company but will commit to spending the money on equipment and operations. It will pay for the satellites, in addition to equipping the ground stations with a new type of antenna of its own design.
During its September event, Apple announced the emergency distress call feature via satellite as the most prominent feature of its new smartphone: the iPhone 14.
The company explained that if users are outside cellular coverage, such as: in remote areas while camping, they can still call emergency services by pointing their phones at the sky, and calling one of Global Star’s 24 satellites in low Earth orbit.
This feature will be launched later this month through a software update for iPhone phones.
Apple’s announcement today shows how high the costs of operating the service are, however, the service will be free for iPhone users for two years, and it is not known what Apple will ask users for this service after the expiry of the period.
Apple said: The service will not be fully automated, as it requires the presence of a human worker in the call centers, where there are more than 300 employees in the centers of the Global Star Company who will work on the service.
With today’s announcement, Apple is also believed to be trying to highlight how much it spends on suppliers in the US and has indicated on more than one occasion that many of the components it uses in its devices come from the US, but are later assembled in China.
Apple said its payments to GlobalStar will come from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund, a pool of money the company uses to support US-based suppliers.
Since the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund in 2017, Apple has paid $450 million to Corning to produce iPhone glass, $390 million to Finisar to equip a factory to produce the laser components needed for face ID: FaceID, $100 million to XPO Logistics, and $10 million to Copan Diagnostics. equipment for covid-19 testing.