When Apple announced the iPhone 13 in 2021, the event opened with a celebratory video featuring jazz dancers praising California’s natural beauty (which could be captured with an iPhone digicam).
Surprised by the dark tone of this year's Apple event? You shouldn't have been — as @kifleswing reports, Apple has actually talked about potential business opportunities arising from severe weather events related to climate change…https://t.co/oURlShsNfD https://t.co/NXjQcvS3tl
— Matt Rosoff (@MattRosoff) September 9, 2022
This week’s presentation of the iPhone 14 by Apple had a darker undercurrent than usual. After a quick pan-in on Apple’s headquarters, the event began with a film featuring customers who had nearly perished but were saved thanks to an Apple Watch dialing 911.
“Dear Apple: My dad was flying our small plane to Vermont. I was asleep in the back seat. I woke up when we were crashing into the tops of the trees. The plane broke into six pieces and we were miles away from civilization in the freezing cold. Then, all of a sudden, my Apple Watch started ringing,” said one character named Hannah.
A few of the characters in the short video also shared stories of how they had experienced or witnessed terrifying events, such as falling into a cold stream, being stuck inside a garbage crusher, or a cardiac event in a restaurant.
This year, many of Apple’s innovative new features have focused on safety, mainly saving lives in emergencies.
This year, the “Emergency SOS via satellite” feature is the most significant new iPhone feature. It allows users to send a message for help even if there is no cell service in the area. Within the Find My app, users can also broadcast their current position to family members or roommates.
iPhone 14 gets Emergency SOS via satellite? When pointed directly at a satellite with a clear view of the sky, you can send messages with no cellular connection. There’s UI to show you exactly where to point your phone so you hit a satellite
Free for 2 years in US/Canada pic.twitter.com/d5CA8nbvnE
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) September 7, 2022
A hiker with a broken leg on a high mountain ridge has successfully called for a helicopter, as demonstrated by Apple as an example of how this feature works. Apple later mentioned backtracking highways as another area where iPhone users can be out of range.
Nonetheless, this quality may be helpful in natural environments. Cellular coverage can be disrupted by natural catastrophes like wildfires or hurricanes, making it challenging to contact emergency services or notify loved ones of your whereabouts.
Another illustration: Apple’s $799 or more Ultra watch features a compass and a siren with an 86-decibel volume that can be heard from 600 feet away.
Apple advertised it as a helpful tool for outdoor enthusiasts because of features like satellite TV. On the other hand, it can be beneficial in various everyday situations. Imagine using the alarm to scare off an intruder or the retracing feature to get back to your car after a disaster in your area knocks out cell coverage.
This week Apple also announced that its iPhones and Apple Watches might automatically dial 911 if they detect an accident using the devices’ built-in motion sensors.
An Apple presenter said, “We genuinely hope you never use it, but that you will feel a little bit safer every time you get in the car,” before showing photographs of a driver being hit by an airbag in slow motion following a crash.
The company hosts launch events to increase interest in Apple’s new products. The company is working on making the iPhone’s security features more “important” to its users so that they won’t switch to Android rivals.
When added, would these features significantly boost iPhone sales? It seems Apple has at least considered the possibility in the past.
Using an older version of the “SOS” feature as an example, Apple’s representatives wrote about potential business alternatives deriving from climate change in a disclosure with the ESG group CDP published in January 2019.
Apple said that when severe weather events grow more common, people may emphasize having access to mobile computing devices that may be used when transportation, power, and other services are temporarily disrupted.
For example, Apple pointed to the 9/11 tragedy and the frequency with which natural disasters like hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey occur.
We predict an increased need for confidence and preparedness in personal safety and the well-being of loved ones over time as people begin to encounter severe weather events with greater frequency,” Apple noted inside the statement.
Apple isn’t the only consumer electronics company improving device security. However, Apple’s devices also feature a robust roster of health options, such as fall detection for seniors and coronary heart monitoring, which further bolsters the company’s complete security appeal.
One presenter during the event remarked, “iPhone is there when you need it the most.” In a situation where your life is in danger, “that kind of trust” is crucial.
Potentially, this is the start of a new marketing strategy for Apple: its products are the ones you need when things go wrong.