In the ever-evolving world of smartphones, one feature stands out: Apple's Emergency SOS via satellite. This life-saving tool recently came to the fore when it assisted in the rescue of two hikers stranded in New Zealand's Arthur's Pass. This incident, detailed in an Instagram post by Canterbury West Air Rescue Service, might be its first usage in New Zealand, but it ignites a broader discussion about the significance of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) during outdoor escapades.
The iPhone 14 boasts a satellite-enabled SOS function that can be a boon for users in areas devoid of cellular coverage. Such was the case for the hikers in New Zealand who found themselves trapped by a rapidly swelling stream. Thanks to the satellite feature on their phone, they reached out to the rescue services, which promptly came to their aid.
Yet, as pointed out by the Canterbury West Air Rescue Service, there's a need for caution. While advancements in smartphone technology are noteworthy, PLBs, which are dedicated devices for emergencies, remain indispensable. The service emphasizes, “The technology is relatively nascent; thus, relying on Personal Locator Beacons during travels is still paramount.”
iPhone 14 once again saved the lives of hikers
Meanwhile, other tech giants are not far behind. Huawei's Mate 60 Pro now lets China Telecom's users make satellite calls, intensifying the competition in the smartphone arena.
Apple's satellite SOS, slated to be part of the upcoming iPhone 15 series, is undeniably an impressive feature. However, the New Zealand incident is a poignant reminder for adventurers: while smartphones can be pivotal in crises, they shouldn't supersede specialized emergency equipment like PLBs. Considerations like battery life still matter. As a practice, rescue teams often check the battery status of the user's phone during an operation. The overarching advice? Carry a Personal Locator Beacon whenever you tread into the wilderness, regardless of the alluring features your latest phone offers.