Early Earthquake Warning System in iOS 5 for Japanese Users

Back in iOS 5 Beta 2, we had seen references to a "Quake Alert" notification embedded in iOS 5, as shown here:

quake
We weren't able to entirely explain or even activate the system, but despite the presence of english localization, it's reportedly intended for Japanese users according to 9to5Mac.

quakewarning
Japan's earthquake warning system was profiled by Time magazine earlier this year.

Japan has the most advanced earthquake early-warning system in the world. A nationwide online system launched in 2007, it detects tremors, calculates an earthquake's epicenter and sends out brief warnings from its 1,000-plus seismographs scattered throughout the country, one of the most earthquake-prone nations on the planet.

The need for such a warning system was underscored by the devastating 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunamis Japan experienced earlier this year. iOS 5 users reportedly have the option to receive these early warnings in iOS 5 at the very bottom of the iOS 5 Notification Center settings pane. We were unable to activate the system from a U.S. based iPhone. The system is reported to be a common feature on Japanese mobile phones.

Top Rated Comments

Demosthenes X Avatar
142 months ago
"Receiving Quake Alerts may incur data charges and affect your battery life".

...and may save your life.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Clark Kent Avatar
142 months ago
It's only in Japan because Japan has actually built the infrastructure required by putting thousands of seismographs around the country to detect early seismic waves (P-waves) that come before the main shaking (S-waves).

Until other countries install the sensors, they can't have a useful earthquake early-warning system.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rayfire Avatar
142 months ago
This is really a big help for them! Especially that some of us might have family, friends or acquaintances living there. Regardless, kudos to a great addition in iOS 5!
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
doug in albq Avatar
142 months ago
That will be useful for the big quake. 100+ years from now!

Or 100 minutes, one never knows.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Clark Kent Avatar
142 months ago
My wife's Docomo cell phone has the earthquake warning system built in. Anywhere between 5 and 20 seconds before the shaking starts, it will start to emit a really loud James Bond-esqe alarm that gets your heart rate pumping.

Regular Softbank phones have the same thing (all Japanese cell phone carriers offer it in their system) but the iPhone only has work-arounds to access it via apps.

It will be great to have it built into the OS.

Good work Apple.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
superstrikertwo Avatar
142 months ago
Would be nice to have this in the SF Bay area.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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