Apple iOS 18 promises iMessage via satellite, a safety boost for hikers

Apple revealed some big changes at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, from ways to hide your secret apps to new AI tools. But some of the announcements were aimed at outdoor enthusiasts, especially those inclined toward off-the-grid adventure.

According to the preview, Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 release – which is expected to be available to the public this fall – will allow US users with an iPhone 14 or later to send and receive texts and emojis via iMessage and SMS, even when cell service or WiFi is not available. not available. This would mean that if everything goes according to the company’s plans, your “don’t worry mom, camping is going great!” the text should pass even from the remote hinterland.

Apple did not provide information when asked whether sending such messages would cost users fees or have limitations. It has not yet charged for sending emergency text messages via satellite outside of cellular service, a feature that debuted in 2022.

While new satellite texting works similarly to this SOS feature, Apple’s support website says “you need to be outside, in relatively open terrain, with a clear view of the sky.” Tree foliage can slow or block the connection, as can hills, mountains, or canyons.

The iOS 18 version will also feature new tools for hikers and forest bathers, Apple said. Apple Maps, notably, will integrate thousands of hiking routes through US national parks and allow users to filter them by details such as length or elevation. Hikers will also be able to create custom routes, access trails offline, and organize them in a new “places library.”

Kevin Long, CEO of camping app Dyrt, called the announced updates “a big win to help get people outside,” especially at a time when American interest in camping is high and reservations camping sites are becoming more and more competitive. This has prompted more people to try backcountry camping, where service is spotty to nonexistent.

Increasing connectivity “will help keep people – especially the millions of first-time campers we see each year since 2020 – safe as they explore dispersed camping,” Long wrote in an email. email.

Justin Wood, REI’s director of cooperative experiences, said increasing the ability to stay connected can provide reassurance to loved ones back home and enhance your time in nature. But having access to email isn’t an excuse to cut corners on your homework before a trip, he said.

“Most importantly, everyone who plays outdoors should plan ahead, prepare carefully, and choose activities and destinations that match their ability levels to avoid problems that can arise, regardless of technology available,” Wood wrote in an email.

Ahead of its official launch as a software update for iPhone Xs and newer models, a public beta of iOS 18 will be available to try next month through the Apple Beta software program.

News Source :
Gn tech

Back to top button