Apple announced a series of new hardware products, including the iPhone 14, the AirPods Pro, and the Apple Watch Ultra, during the Apple 14 launch event. The company’s top brass revealed that they would be doubling down on a growing trend among technology companies: health and safety wearable items.
Apple announced that the latest tech products would be implementing multiple safety-focused features. Among these is a new safety service called emergency SOS. This service will allow users to connect with emergency services even if they are outside of Wi-Fi or cell service range. While it may be helpful for folks stuck out on a hike, Apple has also implemented a Crash Detection feature that could prove invaluable in the event of an accident.
While these new features are certainly impressive, it’s essential to consider the implications that they may have for society as a whole. As our reliance on technology grows, so does our vulnerability to its potential malfunctions. In the case of emergency SOS, for example, what happens if the service fails to connect a user with emergency services? Or what if the Crash Detection feature fails to detect an accident correctly? Here we will unpack the implications that can be made of the latest Apple announcements.
Introducing Emergency SOS
Emergency SOS is a safety service that operates via satellite for iPhone 14 users. It will allow you to connect with emergency services outside Wi-Fi or cell service range.
To activate this service, your iPhone will prompt you where to point your phone to keep you connected with the satellite as it moves. You will also receive questions on your iPhone screen; you then text your reply to add specifics about your emergency situation.
Along with emergency SOS, here are some of the additional safety features that the latest Apple products will come equipped with:
- Crash Detection
- Extreme Sports Safety Features
- Digital SIM card to increase security
- The Ultra Watch is fitted with an 86-decibel siren to notify anyone within 600 feet
With this feature, Apple is trying to transition the iPhone from a luxury item and turn it into a necessity.
How does Emergency SOS work, and what are its implications
Before we can unpack what the latest updates mean for society, we must understand how the features work, focusing primarily on the Emergency SOS feature.
The SOS feature on the new iPhone 14 will act as a satellite phone similar to phones used for years by the military, journalists, and others who work remotely. The downside to traditional satellite phones is that they are typically large, heavy, and can be expensive to use.
Apple’s new service will be integrated into the iPhone 14. It will be smaller and lighter than a satellite phone while being part of a service you would pay for anyway; a cell phone. The SOS feature allows you to text emergency services regardless of the cell coverage in your area. It also allows you to notify emergency contacts about any distress incident.
The underlying darkness behind Apple’s safety features
At first glance, you might think these safety features act as nothing but genuinely compassionate, caring, and thoughtful work from the tech giant. But a more sinister plot begins to form when you examine the reasoning behind these new features. Let’s take a look at some of the dark possibilities that come with Apple’s latest upgrades.
What if the security features malfunction?
It’s easy to see the good that can come from the new iPhone 14’s emergency SOS feature. But you should consider the potential implications of such a service and the vulnerability to its possible malfunctions.
If you become dependent on safety from technology, what happens when that technology fails you? In the case of emergency SOS, for example, what happens if the service fails to connect a user with emergency services? Or what if the Crash Detection feature fails to detect an accident correctly?
Increased dependence on Apple products
Another perhaps sinister aspect is that Apple aims to make consumers dependent on its products. As our dependence on technology grows, so does the power that corporations like Apple have over us. No longer is it a “nice to have” but a “need to have.”
It has the same remanence as a “drink the Kool-Aid” moment. Once you have the sip and become reliant on the effects, it is hard to return. The same goes for Apple; once you are in the system, it is nearly impossible to get out.
If and when Apple increases prices or makes unreasonable requests for essential data from customers, there would be few other options for those who have become so reliant on the iPhone.
How will the data be used?
One of the main concerns is how our data will be used and collected. There is no doubt that when you sign up for an SOS service, you also sign away your privacy.
In exchange for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can always reach emergency services, you are also allowing Apple (and other corporations) to have a constant connection to your location. The new iPhone 14’s SOS feature will use your location data to send your coordinates to emergency services when you make the call.
This means that not only will Apple know where you are at all times, but so too could the government. With the rise of surveillance capitalism, we are already seeing how corporations and governments use our data against us. The addition of emergency SOS services only adds to the data pool that can be used to track and control our movements.
This is something to consider with the latest issues of privacy breaches from corporate giants such as Meta and Google; they were recently fined $71.8 million for privacy violations.
The Overlooked Darkness to iPhones’ Latest Updates
Apple’s new iPhone features an emergency SOS. The underlying implication is that apple products are no longer luxury goods. They are becoming necessities that make consumers feel safe and secure while using their products.
For example, backcountry hikers may no longer feel safe hiking without their iPhones on them because they know they have a satellite SOS service. People operating vehicles may only do so when they have their Ultra watch crash detection features. And parents may only feel comfortable sending their kids to school with an iPhone on them so they can track their every move.
While the new iPhone 14’s emergency SOS feature certainly has its benefits, it is essential to consider the potential implications of such a service. With great power comes great responsibility, and as our reliance on technology grows, so does the power that corporations like Apple have over us.