Emergency SOS via satellite – after two years of free service

Apple’s Emergency SOS over Satellite service took a long time during the keynote, with the company proudly announcing that the service was free for the first two years.

which apple does not have told us what happened at the end of those two years. There is an obvious answer, of course, but there are other possibilities…

paid subscription

The most obvious answer to this is that a paid subscription service is effectively given a two-year free trial. We don’t know yet how much this subscription will be.

However, we can make a reasonable estimate by comparing similar services offered by other companies. The most popular of these is Garmin’s InReach.

Garmin offers six different subscription options, but three of them are aimed at companies purchasing services for multiple staff, and the two more expensive consumer subscriptions only contain more non-urgent texts than the basic plan, so all we really need is to look at: One of these:

  • Consumer Safety: $14.95/month

Even that offers more than Apple as it includes 10 non-urgent text messages per month along with unlimited check-in messages. A check-in message is a simple way to let friends and family know where you are and that you are safe. For example, if you’re climbing a mountain, you can arrange to send a check-in message every hour so they know you could be in trouble if you miss any of them.

Given that Apple’s service is simpler than that – emergency messages only and a FindMy location for family and friends – then we’d expect it to cost less. I’d say something like a third to half of the InReach fee would reflect the difference in features, giving us an Apple fee of $5-10 per month.

No subscription, but usage fee

Another option that some have suggested is that Apple does not charge a subscription fee, but charges a usage fee after the service is used. I think the probability of this happening is zero, but let’s quickly explain why.

As a commercial model, this is a ridiculous model for the business because even if the usage fee was very high, everyone would prefer it over the monthly fee. Why would I pay $5-10 a month for a service I’m unlikely to use if I knew I could still get it if I needed it? And if I need it, I don’t really care about the cost.

With such services, you are effectively buying peace of mind. It’s no different than AppleCare+ or other insurance premiums: the monthly fee is what you pay to avoid worry.

In addition, the usage fee extremely high to make up for the loss in subscription revenue. Like thousands of dollars. While that’s less than the private helicopter rescue bills you might face once you’re off the mountainside, it would be terrible PR for Apple if Apple were to save people by complaining that it charged a MacBook Pro’s worth “for just delivering a few messages”. Messages.”

Included with Apple One

A much more likely option is for Apple to include the service in the Apple One.

The company is clearly doing its best to encourage customers to sign up for an Apple subscription package, and this would be a separate additional incentive to do so.

For example, he can persuade people like me. I’m currently paying separately for Apple Music and 2TB of iCloud storage because it’s significantly cheaper than the only Apple One bundle that includes the latter. However, I could upgrade my Apple Music standalone subscription to Apple One Individual if it included Emergency SOS via Satellite.

Free, for PR value

One final possibility is that Apple eats the cost for the positive PR the service generates. We saw a very good example of this just yesterday. A car rolled off a cliff, Crash Detection detected it, and Emergency SOS via Satellite dispatched a rescue helicopter to the scene. You couldn’t have written a better ad for the iPhone 14 if you tried.

Apple intended to charge for the service when drafting its plans, otherwise wouldn’t say it’s only included for the first two years, but if we get a steady stream of feel-good stories like this, maybe the company will change its mind and keep the service free.

Which is most likely?

Of the four possibilities I outlined for Emergency SOS over satellite service, I would immediately eliminate the usage fee for the reasons explained. This leaves us with:

  • $5-$10 paid subscription per month
  • Get included in Apple One
  • Free, for PR value

To be honest, I can see any of these, including both one and two, as a realistic possibility.

If you were to keep me on a precipice to force me to make a choice, then I’d do one and two: a choice between a standalone subscription or being included with Apple One. But I don’t see the free option as absolutely impossible.

What about you? Please take our survey that you think is most likely (which you would not prefer) and share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo: Kevin Schmid/Unsplash

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