Apple has announced that the satellite connectivity features on the iPhone 14 models are now available for customers in Australia and New Zealand. With the new feature, customers can use Emergency SOS via satellite to send short text messages to emergency services when they are outside of normal cellular network or Wi-Fi signal. In addition, they can also share their location with friends and family using the Find My app. This feature is available on iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Currently, the satellite features are available in 14 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Australia, and New Zealand. The iPhone 14 automatically provides satellite features when the device is disconnected from cellular and Wi-Fi. If an emergency call is attempted under such conditions, the phone offers an option to make the call via satellite instead.
To connect with the satellite overhead, the iOS interface guides the user to point their phone in a specific direction. However, establishing a satellite connection usually requires a clear view of the sky. Users can try out the satellite feature through a dry-run demo by navigating to Settings -> Emergency SOS -> scroll to the Emergency SOS via Satellite section and pressing ‘Try Demo’.
As data transfer with the satellite network is slow, the iPhone interface prompts users with text to send a short, optimized message. If needed, emergency services can reply and have a two-way conversation. If nearby emergency services support text-based communication, Emergency SOS via satellite connects users directly to that channel. If not, workers at Apple relay centers receive emergency messages and convey them to emergency services over the phone on the user’s behalf.
Apple is offering the satellite features for free for two years from the time of activation of the device or when the service was made available in a particular region, whichever is later. However, Apple has not disclosed how much it plans to charge for the feature after the two-year free period.
In conclusion, the satellite features for iPhone 14 models are now available in Australia and New Zealand, offering customers a way to stay connected in emergency situations. The feature is available for free for two years, and users can try it out through a dry-run demo. However, it remains to be seen how much the service will cost after the two-year free period.