When Apple held its annual launch event for the iPhone 13 in 2021, it began with a joyful video that includes jazz dancers celebrating the pure great thing about California (which could be captured with an iPhone digital camera, after all).
The tone of Apple’s iPhone 14 launch this week was darker. After zooming in on Apple’s headquarters from area, it kicked off with a video highlighting customers who wrote letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook saying that they nearly died — however had been saved by their Apple Watch calling 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,” mentioned one character named Hannah.
Other characters within the quick video informed tales of falling right into a frozen stream, getting trapped inside a trash compactor, and witnessing a cardiac episode in a restaurant.
Saving lives in emergency conditions was the key theme of Apple’s launch this year, and lots of the most notable new options the corporate introduced had been oriented round security.
The most vital new iPhone functionality this year is named “Emergency SOS via satellite,” which might ship a message for assist even when there is no cell service round for miles. Users can even share their location with household or associates within the Find My app.
Apple’s instance of how the characteristic works confirmed a hiker with a damaged leg on prime of a mountain ridge calling for a helicopter. Later, Apple talked about winding again roads as one other place the place iPhone customers could be out of vary.
But this characteristic may very well be helpful in outdoors wilderness settings. Wildfires, hurricanes, and different disasters can reduce cell service, and being able to contact emergency providers or inform your loved ones the place you’re can actually be a life-saver in these circumstances.
Another instance: Apple’s $799 or extra watch, the Ultra, has an 86-decibel siren that may be heard 600 ft away, and compass options that enable the consumer to retrace their steps with out the web.
As with the satellite tv for pc characteristic, Apple marketed it as for backcountry adventurers, however it is also helpful in additional mundane settings. Imagine sounding the alarm as a deterrent to an attacker, or utilizing the retracing characteristic to search out your means again to your automobile after a neighborhood catastrophe has interrupted cell service.
Apple additionally introduced this week that iPhones and Apple Watches can now name 911 in the event that they detect a automobile crash utilizing movement sensors.
“We truly hope you never need it but that you will feel a little bit safer every time you get in the car,” an Apple presenter mentioned, moments earlier than rolling one other industrial the place a driver will get hit by an air bag in gradual movement after crashing.
Apple’s launch occasions are designed to do one factor: Build up demand for Apple’s new merchandise. Apple needs to make the iPhone much more “essential” for its customers although security options, giving customers causes to not swap to competing Android gadgets.
Will these options meaningfully improve iPhone adoption and gross sales? It seems, Apple has a minimum of thought of the likelihood up to now.
In a disclosure with the ESG group CDP printed in January 2019, Apple representatives wrote about potential enterprise alternatives stemming from local weather change, citing a earlier model of the “SOS” characteristic as an instance of Apple’s work to construct options for emergency conditions.
“As severe weather events become more frequent, consumers may come to value more highly the immediate and ubiquitous availability of reliable mobile computing devices for use in situations where transportation, power, and other services may be temporarily interrupted,” Apple representatives wrote.
Apple cited the occasions of 9/11 and hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey as “extreme weather events” which might be occurring extra regularly.
“Over time, as people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones,” Apple wrote within the disclosure.
Apple’s not the one shopper electronics firm that’s growing security options for its gadgets. But Apple’s gadgets even have a strong lineup of well being options, like fall detection for seniors and coronary heart monitoring, which make the general security pitch stronger.
“iPhone is there when you need it most,” one presenter mentioned on the launch event. “That confidence is especially important in moments where your safety is at risk.”
We could also be seeing the beginning of a brand new messaging technique at Apple: Its gadgets are those you need when issues go improper.