Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch satellites to provide communications for Apple’s Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, which debuted with the iPhone 14 series. Globestar—Apple’s partner—has signed a deal with SpaceX, according to the company’s federal filing.
As reported by Nola, Globestar will pay a total of $64 million for “launch-related payments on a periodic basis” from now until all satellites are launched in 2025 as part of the signed deal.
For those unfamiliar, Apple launched its Emergency SOS via Satellite feature with the iPhone 14 series and is expected to introduce the same feature with its iPhone 15 models launching this month. The feature allows stranded users in select regions who might have encountered an emergency, and who have no cellular service, to contact emergency services using their iPhones.
SpaceX, on the other hand, is a spacecraft manufacturing and launching company founded by the billionaire Elon Musk.
Furthermore, according to Nola’s report, Globalstar purchased these satellites back in February 2022 from a Canadian company called ‘Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates Corp.’ for $327 million. The iPhone maker loaned Globalstar $252 million to fund this purchase. This is not the first instance of Musk-owned SpaceX assisting Globalstar; in the past, it has helped the Apple partner launch satellites for Florida’s Cape Canaveral.
It remains to be seen whether the growing number of satellites will extend the reach of the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature beyond regions limited to the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, and France—or if this is simply a routine exercise to maintain the service’s smooth operation.
In related news, Apple has unveiled that the launch date for its iPhone 15 series will be September 12. At the event, the tech giant is expected to introduce the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max/Ultra. Also at the event, there will be the new Apple Watch Series 9 and the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra.