Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Emergency SOS via Satellite Pricing

Adam Chandler:

Garmin had a few benefits Apple’s hardware did not thanks to a larger antenna and dedicated hardware. My InReach could be tracked by my wife anywhere. She could see my location instantly by going to a special web page and entering a passcode. I could also text anything I wanted to any phone number made easier by the InReach app where I could type on a smartphone keyboard instead of the old thumb pad input on the InReach. Finally, InReach had topographic maps for the entire USA. I could open it up anywhere and relate myself to the surroundings, use the compass and know how to find water or civilization.

Of course, all of this came for a high price and now, FindMy, Basic texting to my wife and emergency SOS were built in to my iPhone 14.


In fact, SOS may be a wake up call to some people that could graduate to owning a real PLB when they have an emergency and see how slow and cumbersome Apple’s SOS is compared to a dedicated device with its one-week battery life and easier use along with being hooked to their clothes via a clip than stuck in a backpack. This could grow the amount of people using a dedicated PLB who never knew those products existed.


I think SOS will be $49 a year or $5 a month to convert 2 million people to their SOS service and, because bundling, it will be included with AppleOne because what’s better than people paying $5 a month? Well, it’s getting them to pay $30 a month and subscribe to everything Apple has to offer.


One year ago today, Apple’s groundbreaking safety service Emergency SOS via satellite became available on all iPhone 14 models in the U.S. and Canada. Now also available on the iPhone 15 lineup in 16 countries and regions, this innovative technology — which enables users to text with emergency services while outside of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage — has already made a significant impact, contributing to many lives being saved. Apple today announced it is extending free access to Emergency SOS via satellite for an additional year for existing iPhone 14 users.

John Gruber:

My hunch on this is that Apple would like to make this available free of charge in perpetuity, but wasn’t sure how much it would actually get used, and thus how much it would actually cost. If they come right out and say it’s free forever, then it needs to be free forever. It’s safer to just do what they’ve done here: make it free for an extra year one year at a time, and see how it goes as more and more iPhones that support the feature remain in active use.

Kyle Melnick:

After Shepherd frantically called 911, investigators contacted Volkswagen’s Car-Net service, which can track the location of the manufacturer’s vehicles. They hoped to locate Isaiah.

But a customer service representative said that wouldn’t be possible because Shepherd’s subscription to the satellite service had expired, according to a new lawsuit. The employee said he couldn’t help until a $150 payment was made, the complaint said.

Via John Gruber:

This perfectly illustrates the perils of Apple eventually charging for Emergency SOS satellite service. If Apple someday cuts off free service for compatible iPhones, eventually there’s going to be someone who dies because they chose not to pay to continue service. No one wants that.

Dan Moren:

I was pretty confident Apple would kick this can down the road, and now they have. My guess is that it might (next year or the year after) introduce a paid tier that lets you do more with satellite connectivity—non-emergency messaging, for example—and use a charge for that to essentially subsidize free emergency functionality for all users.


Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Leave a Comment