Apple Extends Emergency SOS via Satellite for an Additional Free Year

Apple Newsroom, two weeks ago:

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.

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.

It’s a wonderful feature — quite literally life-saving in numerous cases — but it’d be hard to sell. It’s like buying insurance. People like paying for stuff they want to use, not for stuff they hope they never need. Obviously, people do buy insurance — Apple itself, of course, sells AppleCare — but how many people would pay extra for Emergency SOS? If Apple can just quietly eat the cost of this service, they should, and I think will.

Wednesday, 29 November 2023