Elon Musk's SpaceX to Launch Satellites for Apple's Emergency SOS Feature on iPhones

Apple satellite partner Globalstar is paying Elon Musk's SpaceX to launch new satellites that will be used to update the communication network for the Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone feature, reports Nola.

Emergency SOS Satellite YouTube
Globalstar will pay SpaceX $64 million according to the details of the arrangement, which were disclosed in an SEC filing. Payments will be made from 2023 to 2025, which is when SpaceX plans to launch the satellites.

Apple introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite last year alongside the new iPhone 14 models. The technology allows the ‌iPhone 14‌, ‌iPhone 14‌ Plus, ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro, and ‌iPhone 14‌ Pro Max to contact emergency services when no WiFi or cellular connection is available.

Globalstar is Apple's partner for the initiative, handling the satellites that allow the feature to function. Apple at launch said that Emergency SOS via Satellite would be free for two years, and so far has not provided insight into what it might eventually cost.

The $64 million that Globalstar is paying SpaceX is likely just a fraction of the cost of running the satellites, and that cost is being passed along to Apple, so it stands to reason that Apple will eventually be charging at least a small fee for those who want to use the SOS option.

Globalstar has agreed to allocate 85 percent of its current and future network capacity to Apple's iPhones, with Globalstar providing and maintaining all personnel, software, satellite systems, and more, while also maintaining minimum quality and coverage standards. Prior to when the ‌iPhone 14‌ models launched, Globalstar bought $327 million worth of satellite equipment from a Canadian company, with Apple loaning Globalstar $252 million.

Emergency SOS via Satellite is available in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Portugal.

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Top Rated Comments

hortod1 Avatar
10 months ago

This is really a stupid feature if you ask me. If you're putting yourself into a situation where you need emergency communications buying an Iridium phone or beacon is a far far better idea. I suspect this might put people off a safety conscious decision because there is some assumption they can fall back on the iPhone, which is extremely difficult to use in this mode I understand, you know when you're injured or incapacitated.

Casual stuff, you might be lucky...
You’re free not to use it.
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
temende Avatar
10 months ago
Elon becoming part of the iPhone feature supply chain will break a lot of minds on this website. Time to microwave some popcorn!
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
caliguy Avatar
10 months ago
Elon is the most impactful innovator since SJ.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PixelsMaster Avatar
10 months ago

This is really a stupid feature if you ask me. If you're putting yourself into a situation where you need emergency communications buying an Iridium phone or beacon is a far far better idea. I suspect this might put people off a safety conscious decision because there is some assumption they can fall back on the iPhone, which is extremely difficult to use in this mode I understand, you know when you're injured or incapacitated.

Casual stuff, you might be lucky...
Driving in/through some rural areas kicks my phone into SOS satellite mode. I don’t see how purchasing a satellite phone and plan is a far better idea, unless I’m missing something.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PixelsMaster Avatar
10 months ago

elon haters going to boycott iphones now? lol imagine being this angry at elon
They’ll probably just angrily shake their fist toward the sky while getting emergency help.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tripsync Avatar
10 months ago
elon haters going to boycott iphones now? lol imagine being this angry at elon

going to be a sad future for those people when elon products are everywhere
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)