One of the novelties in the presentation of the new iPhone 14 models has been the inclusion of a satellite connection function for emergency notification, which includes the possibility of send messages from remote locations and without coverage telephone operators or WiFi.
The iPhone’s satellite connection for emergencies is based on sending packets of reduced size of information
Although the usual thing is that the antennas for the connection via satellite are large parabolic dishes with cumbersome arms that place the LNB that collects and sends the information on the appropriate concentration point, in recent times the size of this technology has also been reduced, as testify to the compact antennas of Starlink, the SpaceX company, also founded by the protean Elon Musk and which provides Internet access from almost anywhere on the planet thanks to its constellation of thousands of artificial microsatellites.
But even so, even though it lacks the arm with the LNB module, Starlink’s antennas are just that, antennas, so it’s surprising that Apple announces the ability to satellite connection without the need for any external antenna. The “trick” is in the amount of information that is transmitted, which in the case of the iPhone SE emergency notification system reduces to a few bytes.
Also by activating this Apple’s emergency system, called Emergency SOS, the application indicates on the screen the direction in which the user must “point” the iPhone. This avoids the omnidirectionality of satellite dishes and allows, at the cost of further fine-tuning the direction in which the transmission is emitted, to be able to establish communication between a device that fits in your pocket with a satellite located hundreds of miles away. kilometers high… without using an external antenna.
Finally, once established the connection between the iPhone and the satellite, the application collects different data about the user’s situation, their location, status and nature of the problem or accident. This is simple information that, with a few pieces of information, is capable of generating a small packet of bytes that is sent to Apple, from where the appropriate authorities will be notified based on the user’s location and the circumstance reported.
Apple states that in a clear sky situation, sending the message would take 15 seconds, and may take several minutes if there is an obstacle in the line of sight with the satellite (such as the closed vegetation of a forest).
The Emergency SOS service is included free for two years with the purchase of the new iPhone 14 and is currently only available in the United States and Canada.