It’s no secret that Apple just introduced its latest iPhone, the 14, and while pilots are generally iOS friendly, thanks in part to apps like Garmin Pilot and ForeFlight, not to mention the great cameras in Apple phones, this latest iPhone has a feature that pilots might feel that they need.
In 2007, we were all introduced to the very first Apple iPhone. At that time, there was no thought to throw it in your flight bag. After all, why bring a cellphone with you when one of the reasons for your pleasure flights was likely to get away from the tethered terrestrial world of always being in touch?
Times have changed. Our phones and tablets have become important tools and ones that we would likely not want to leave earthbound when we take to the skies.
In its official announcement of the Apple iPhone 14 on Wednesday, the company shared the news that this version will include the ability to connect to orbiting communications satellites for emergency services when regular cellular or Wi-Fi coverage is not available. Technology and specialized components, along with software that is part of this new iPhone. will allow users to reach emergency services in those locations where it would normally be impossible to communicate using standard cell phone towers. For now, this will be limited to North America.
This means that in the coming days, your iPhone 14 sitting in your flight bag could in fact be one of the most important survival tools you have. Basically, it becomes your ability to communicate in an emergency via satellite technology that Apple is integrating with their ecosystem.
How will it work? Should you need to initiate emergency communications, the device will prompt you with a few questions about your situation, then it will give you step-by-step graphical instructions on how to latch on to the orbiting satellites. Once connected, your information will be forwarded to Apple-trained specialists who will contact the appropriate emergency service personnel, providing details of your emergency along with GPS coordinates of your location. It’s easy to see how this could be a total game changer in the general aviation community, without the need to bring along a dedicated satellite communicator.
This could be just another way to mitigate risk and one that will likely find itself in many flight bags across aviation, potentially saving lives along the way.