Apple launches Roadside Assistance via satellite
With the iPhone 15, Apple is launching a brand new service, Roadside Assistance via satellite, in partnership with AAA.
Constructing on the Emergency SOS and Discover My via satellite options launched with the iPhone 14 and newer Apple Watch fashions — which, by the way in which, are actually out there in 14 nations and heading to extra sooner or later — Roadside Assistance via satellite permits iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 customers to pick out from certainly one of a number of eventualities (e.g., “Locked out,” “no gas or cost,” or “flat tire”) to textual content an AAA operator even in locations the place there isn’t a cell sign.
The brand new Roadside Assistance interface will information customers to connect with a satellite and share their info with a roadside help supplier. Then the supplier will message them instantly and, utilizing the consumer’s GPS location and different information, dispatch assist with the best tools.
Now we’ll need to see how nicely this works in observe.
Roadside Assistance via satellite, like Emergency SOS and Discover My via satellite, differs from the satellite-based information and textual content connectivity supplied by firms like Lynk and T-Cellular via Starlink. Whereas these depend on cell towers robust sufficient to succeed in and obtain a satellite sign, Roadside Assistance via satellite — via Globalstar — makes use of bands that usually require a particular antenna.
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Once we examined Emergency SOS on the iPhone 14 a couple of yr in the past, it reliably discovered a sign by way of the thick tree branches — however the time to lock on different from just some seconds to so long as 10. With all of its satellite-based emergency companies, Apple says that lock-on success will depend upon a lot of elements, together with the climate and obstructions (e.g., mountains, steep hills and canyons) in the way in which of the antenna.
Final yr, Apple pledged $450 million by way of its Superior Manufacturing Fund towards increasing the infrastructure powering Emergency SOS, Discover My via satellite, and now Roadside Assistance via satellite, together with the satellite community and floor stations. Part of the funding went towards putting in custom-built antennas designed to obtain alerts transmitted by Globalstar’s satellite constellation.
For brand spanking new iPhone 15 and iPhone 14 consumers, Roadside Assistance via satellite — a U.S.-only functionality, not less than in the interim — will likely be free for individuals who have an AAA membership for not less than two years or out there on a “pay-per-use” foundation for any non-member prospects.
Worldwide vacationers who buy iPhones in mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao can’t use Emergency SOS and Discover My via satellite. Presumably, the identical geo-locking limitation applies to Roadside Assistance via satellite.