Future iPhone models will allow satellite communications, but only for emergencies

Circulating rumours seem to suggest the next iPhone, likely the iPhone 13 lineup, will support texts and messages via satellite technologies.
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2 min read
Satellite Dish

Rumours have confirmed that future iPhones will harness satellite communication technology, allowing users to send texts and messages over satellite when there is no cellular coverage.

However, the technology will only be available to be used in the case of emergencies, or when reporting crashes and injuries to another.

The tool is named ‘Emergency Contact via Satellite’, which will allow the user to contact emergency services when no network coverage is available. The feature will be integrated within the Messages application, and a message from satellite will appear in a grey message bubble, alongside the traditional green bubble for SMS messages and blue for iMessages.

The ability to report major accidents such as plane crashes is a feature separate to this, but more information is not yet currently available.

The satellite messages will automatically send to an emergency contact even if the contact has Do Not Disturb on or any of the Focus features associated with iOS 15.

The satellite feature will be most useful in areas with little to no network coverage, such as remote lakes, oceans or mountains.

The satellite messaging system is also able to ask for detailed information such as the type of accident (e.g. a plane crashing into the sea), whether a person has suffered a severe or fatal injury, whether there are any perpetrators or offenders involved, whether any weapons were involved in the incident and whether services such as search and rescue is needed to scout for missing persons.

In the case of a medical emergency, the feature is also able to send the emergency services the user’s location, their Medical ID on iPhone, as well as details integrated into the Health app such as the user’s age, height, weight and underlying health conditions, if any. The service can also notify the user’s emergency contacts (such as their family or doctors) that they are present in an emergency.

Of course, the satellite technology plans are still private rumours within Apple, and as such the feature is still unconfirmed. Therefore, Apple has chance to scrap or modify the features ahead of its next Apple Event. The next Apple Event is expected to feature the 2021 lineup of iPhones and could be scheduled for sometime later this month.

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