iPhone 13 satellite features to be emergency focused at first, include new messaging capability


The rumor: Apple’s plans to allow the iPhone 13 to communicate with satellites will generally be focused on emergency situations, according to Mark Gurman (88.8% accurate, via Bloomberg).

  • “The first component, dubbed Emergency Message via Satellite, will let users text emergency services and contacts over a satellite network when there’s no cell signal available. That feature will be integrated into the Messages app as a third protocol — alongside the standard SMS and iMessage — and appear with gray message bubbles instead of green or blue” Gurman says
  • These satellite messages will be limited to only so many characters and will push through Do Not Disturb when it is enabled
  • Apple is also working on a second feature that will allow you to report an emergency as it happens, such as someone falling overboard at sea or to report suspicious behavior or weaponry
  • According to Gurman’s source, “the features are unlikely to be ready before next year”

Our take: I’ve seen a lot of takes minimizing how important this tech could be and I don’t understand why. What Gurman, the best Apple source in the game is reporting here, is exactly what I envisioned and will be truly game-changing when it launches. This will allow humans to communicate to each other at the times when they need to most, and I really hope that the iPhone 13 series does end up shipping with this functionality. This alone could be worth upgrading for if you are someone who finds yourself in areas without cell-coverage frequently.