Posts tagged with "iPhone Users"

Apple rolls out iPhone emergency SOS satellite alert service for when you’re off the grid

November 16, 2022

Apple is trying to give iPhone users a measure of safety—even when they find themselves in place without cell service, reports CNBC.

On Tuesday, November 15, the company launched emergency SOS via satellite, which enables users to text emergency services when they’re off the grid, whether camping in the mountains or driving in a remote area at night. The service is available for iPhone 14 customers and is free for the first two years.

Apple announced the emergency feature in September, when it debuted the iPhone 14 lineup. To enable the service, Apple said last week it would spend $450 million with U.S. companies, with the majority of the money going to Globalstar, a Louisiana-based satellite operator.

It will work for all iPhone 14 users. All a user has to do is point his or her phone at the sky in order to connect to one of 24 Globalstar satellites in low Earth orbit.

Apple doesn’t want users testing the service out for non-emergencies. The company offered me a demonstration last week so I could explain how to use it.

Here’s how it works:

  1. In the event of an emergency, try calling 911. If you don’t have cell service, your phone will try to connect to another carrier’s tower. If that doesn’t work, an option to “Emergency Text via Satellite” will pop up.
  2. You can also go to iMessage to text 911 or SOS; then tap Emergency Services.
  3. An option will populate, allowing you to tap to report an emergency.
  4. Emergency questions will populate to help you best describe your situation. The first prompt will say “What’s the emergency?” You’ll then be able to select from options like “Car or vehicle issue,” or “sickness or injury.” Next, you’ll be led through a series of more in-depth questions.
  5. You’ll be given the option to notify your emergency contacts to let them know you reached out to emergency services, along with your location and the nature of your emergency. You also can use the Find My app to share your location with friends and family via satellite.
  6. To connect to a satellite, your phone will ask you to point it towards the sky. As long as you have a clear view, you should be able to connect to a satellite, but it could take up to 15 seconds for your messages to go through. If you don’t have a clear view of the sky, because of trees or another obstruction, the texts may take a minute to go through. And because satellites orbit the earth quickly, you’ll have to move your phone slightly to stay connected throughout the conversation.
  7. Once you’ve connected to emergency services via satellite, they’ll immediately know your location and the nature of your emergency, but you’ll be asked a few more questions to help emergency personnel to locate you and to come prepared.
  8. If you have your medical ID set up through your iPhone’s health settings, emergency services will be able to see important personal information, like what medications you’re taking and the names of your emergency contacts.

To try out emergency SOS via satellite, Apple has a demo option:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Emergency SOS.
  3. Tap Try Demo. You’ll then be led through the same prompts you would get in a real emergency. You’ll also be able to turn off your cell service and connect to a satellite so you can get a feel for it. You’ll get haptic feedback when you’re not pointing in the right direction.

For now, emergency SOS via satellite is only available in the United States and Canada.

Research contact: @CNBC

Supreme Court appears inclined to hear antitrust suit against Apple

November 27, 2018

On November 26, the U.S. Supreme Court appeared likely to allow a class-action lawsuit (Apple Inc. v. Pepper) first filed in California in 2011 by a group of iPhone users to proceed against Apple.

According to the SCOTUSblog, the implications of the case could be significant not only for Apple—which could face millions of dollars’ worth of damages if the case is allowed to go forward and the company is found liable—but also for other companies that operate similar “electronic marketplaces.”

Specifically, the case alleges that the Cupertino, California-based tech company has violated federal antitrust laws by monopolizing the market for iPhone software on its App Store and requiring consumers to pay inflated prices. Indeed, the suit claims that Apple not only confines sales of its apps to its own store, but also takes a 30% commission from the purchases.

However, the SCOTUSblog notes, Apple is arguing that the iPhone users don’t have a case at all, because Apple is simply selling the apps to iPhone users at the prices that the app developers have set.

In order for the case to proceed, the Supreme Court first must decide, according to the brief for the case, “Whether there is a compelling reason to review the Ninth Circuit’s determination, in accordance with the well-settled standing requirement of the 1977 suit, Illinois Brick v. Illinois.”

In that 40-year-old U.S. Supreme Court antitrust decision, it was established that “indirect purchases of goods or services along a supply chain cannot seek remedy for antitrust actions committed by the manufacturer or service provider.”  Thus, the plaintiffs only would have antitrust standing as “direct purchasers” who were directly overcharged.

The nine justices heard an hour of arguments on Monday. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan, in explaining how an App Store purchase is handled, said, “From my perspective, I’ve engaged in a one-step transaction with Apple,” according to a report by Reuters.

Some conservative justices, including Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch, wondered whether the 1977 ruling was still valid in a modern marketplace.

However, Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts’ questions “suggested he agreed with Apple’s position,” Reuters reported. Roberts expressed concern that, for a single price increase, Apple could be held liable by both consumers and App developers.

The iPhone users, including lead plaintiff Robert Pepper of Chicago, have argued that Apple’s monopoly leads to inflated prices compared to if apps were available from other sources.

Though developers set the prices of their apps, Apple collects the payments from iPhone users—and does keep a 30% commission on each purchase. One area of dispute in the case is whether app developers recoup the cost of that commission by passing it on to consumers. Developers earned more than $26 billion in 2017, a 30% increase over 2016, according to Apple.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the case last year, finding that Apple was a distributor that sold iPhone apps directly to consumers.

Research contact: @andrew_chung_