Apple today announced that it would be granting another free year of Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 users. The feature, part of Emergency SOS, allows users to contact emergency services even when they do not have cellular reception. It was introduced on all iPhone 14 models, and was also featured in this year’s iPhone 15 series. Apple said that the safety feature would be free for two years, but could become a paid service after that date. However, Apple is now extending that free trial period to last another year. That means current iPhone 14 users can use Emergency SOS via satellite until November 2025.
The extended free trial applies to people who activated their iPhone 14 series smartphone before 12 a.m. PT on November 15, 2023, which is today. With the extension, both iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 users will have access to Emergency SOS via satellite until November 2025. There was no mention an iPhone 15 extension in the release, so at least for now, iPhone 14 users will get three years free and iPhone 15 users will get two years free. It’s always possible that Apple extends these trials further at a later date, but nothing is guaranteed.
“Emergency SOS via satellite has helped save lives around the world,” said Kaiann Drance, who is Apple’s vice president of worldwide iPhone product marketing, in a press release. “From a man who was rescued after his car plummeted over a 400-foot cliff in Los Angeles, to lost hikers found in the Apennine Mountains in Italy, we continue to hear stories of our customers being able to connect with emergency responders when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.”
Would people pay for Emergency SOS via satellite?
Apple was transparent that Emergency SOS via satellite could become a paid service after the free trial period ends. However, it’s unclear what a pricing model would look like for this kind of service. Emergency SOS is something that users hope they’ll never need, but could seriously helpful in an emergency. With that in mind, the service is hard to put a price on.
When the feature was first announced, it seemed apparent that not many people would pay for satellite connectivity. Most people upgrade their smartphones after a few years, so the two-year free trial could last the life of a user’s iPhone — no other fee required. With the free trial extended to three years, this becomes even more likely. Cellular carries often sell phones via 36-month installment plans, which would line up with the end of free Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 users. By the time this free trial ends, most iPhone 14 users will probably be looking to upgrade anyway.
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