November 10, 2022
Satellite SOS emergency on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineups made possible by Apple’s $450 million investment in US infrastructure
A network of satellites and ground stations are powering the new service, which will be launched later this month
A $450 million investment from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund provides critical infrastructure that supports emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 models. The new service will be available to customers in the US and Canada beginning later this month, and will allow iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 models Pro connects directly to the satellite, enabling messaging to emergency services when you’re out of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage.
Most of the funding goes to Globalstar, a global space service headquartered in Covington, Louisiana, with facilities throughout the United States. Apple’s investment provides significant improvements to the Globalstar satellite network and ground stations, ensuring iPhone 14 users can contact emergency services when they’re off-net. At Globalstar, the new service is supported by more than 300 employees.
“Satellite SOS emergencies are an excellent example of how American ingenuity and technology can save lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “We are proud that this service has been enabled by leading US companies, and that our users can explore off-grid areas knowing they are still within reach of emergency services if they need it.”
Emergency SOS via satellite is just one of the leading safety capabilities offered by the iPhone 14 lineup. Crash Detection can now detect a serious car accident and automatically call emergency services when a user is unconscious or unable to reach their iPhone.
Delivered in partnership with Globalstar, Apple’s Emergency SOS over satellite service uses spectrum in the L and S bands specifically designated for mobile satellite services by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations. When an iPhone user performs an Emergency SOS via a satellite request, the message is received by one of Globalstar’s 24 satellites in low Earth orbit traveling at approximately 16,000 miles per hour. The satellite then sends the message to dedicated ground stations located at key points around the world.
Once received by a ground station, the message is routed to emergency services that can dispatch assistance, or a relay center with Apple-trained emergency specialists if local emergency services cannot receive text messages.
“The launch of Emergency Satellite SOS directly to the iPhone is a generational advance in satellite communications, and we are proud that Globalstar’s satellite and spectrum assets will play a key role in saving lives,” said Jay Munro, CEO of Globalstar. “By investing in Apple’s infrastructure, we have grown our teams in California and elsewhere to build, expand and upgrade our ground stations, and look forward to the next chapter in life-saving Globalstar technology.”
Ground stations use new high-powered antennas designed and manufactured specifically for Apple by Cobham Satcom in Concord, California. Cobham employees design and manufacture high-powered antennas, which will receive the signals transmitted by the satellite constellation. Besides communicating via text messages with emergency services, iPhone users can launch the Find My app and share their location via satellite when there’s no cellular and Wi-Fi connection, providing a sense of security when out of the typical communications network.
To increase reliability and coverage, these new antennas are installed at all Globalstar ground stations around the world, including the new ground stations in Nevada and Hawaii, as well as facilities in Texas, Alaska, Florida and Puerto Rico. Several antennas at each earth station communicate with the satellites and relay information provided by the user so that they can get the help they need.
To connect the iPhone to the satellite network, users communicate across the spectrum of mobile satellite services, which Globalstar has operated in the United States for the past 20 years. With upgraded ground stations, and soon an updated suite of satellites, Apple and Globalstar will ensure that spectrum continues to enable emergency services.
In addition to leading-edge security features, the iPhone 14 lineup features advanced camera systems, all-day battery life, and industry-leading durability features. Customers looking to upgrade to the iPhone 14 lineup can save up to $1,000 through the Trade-in program — either online at apple.com or in the Apple Store — when they activate their devices with select US carriers.
In 2021, Apple announced an acceleration of its investments in the United States, with plans to make more than $430 billion in new contributions over five years.
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