PC: CNBC

When Apple hosted its yearly iPhone 13 launch event in 2021, it opened with a happy film showcasing jazz dancers appreciating California’s natural beauty (which can be captured with an iPhone camera, of course).

This week’s iPhone 14 unveiling by Apple has a darker undertone. It began with a video showcasing consumers who submitted letters to Apple CEO Tim Cook stating that they almost died but were saved by their Apple Watch contacting 911. The movie then pans in on Apple’s headquarters from orbit.

“Hello, Apple: Our little plane was being flown to Vermont by my dad. In the rear seat, I was dozing off. We were colliding with the tops of the trees when I woke up. We were miles from civilization in the bitter cold when the plane broke into six pieces. Then, out of nowhere, my Apple Watch started ringing,” remarked a Hannah-like character.

At the brief movie, other actors related tales of slipping into a cold stream, getting stuck inside a garbage compactor, and seeing a cardiac arrest in a restaurant.

The main focus of Apple’s launch this year was saving lives in emergency circumstances, and many of the most significant new features the firm introduced were focused on safety.

“Emergency SOS via satellite,” which may send a message for aid even if there is no cell service for miles, is the most important new iPhone feature this year. In the Find My app, users may also tell their loved ones or friends where they are.

A hiker with a broken leg screaming for a helicopter on top of a mountain ridge was Apple’s illustration of how the capability operates. Later, Apple included winding backroads to its list of potential dead zones for iPhone users.The main focus of Apple’s launch this year was saving lives in emergency circumstances, and many of the most significant new features the firm introduced were focused on safety.

“Emergency SOS via satellite,” which may send a message for aid even if there is no cell service for miles, is the most important new iPhone feature this year. In the Find My app, users may also tell their loved ones or friends where they are.

A hiker with a broken leg screaming for a helicopter on top of a mountain ridge was Apple’s illustration of how the capability operates. Later, Apple included winding backroads to its list of potential dead zones for iPhone users.

But outside of wilderness environments, this capability might be helpful. Cell service can be disrupted by wildfires, hurricanes, and other calamities, and being able to contact emergency services or let your family know where you are in those situations can actually save your life.

Another illustration: Apple’s $799 or more watch, the Ultra, has a 600-foot-range 86-decibel alarm and compass features that let the user retrace their travels without the need of the internet.

Apple promoted it as a handy tool for wilderness explorers, similar to how it promoted the satellite capability, but it may also be beneficial in less adventurous situations. Think about utilising the alarm to scare off an intruder or the retracing ability to locate your car after a calamity in your neighbourhood cut off mobile coverage.

This week, Apple also revealed that iPhones and Apple Watches can now use motion sensors to detect car crashes and notify 911.

An Apple representative remarked, “We genuinely hope you never use it, but that you will feel a little bit safer every time you get in the car,” just before displaying pictures of a driver being hit by an air bag in slow motion after colliding with a car.

The goal of Apple’s launch events is to increase demand for its new products. By adding safety measures, the business is attempting to convince users that the iPhone is still “vital” and is better than competing Android handsets.

Will these features significantly boost iPhone sales and adoption? It turns out that Apple has at least given the idea some thought in the past.

Representatives from Apple discussed potential business opportunities brought on by climate change in a disclosure with the ESG group CDP that was published in January 2019. They used an earlier iteration of the “SOS” feature as an illustration of their efforts to create features for emergency situations.

The immediate and widespread availability of dependable mobile computing devices for use in situations where transportation, power, and other services may be temporarily disrupted may become more and more valuable to consumers as severe weather events become more frequent, Apple representatives wrote.

Apple mentioned the 9/11 tragedy as well as more frequent “severe weather occurrences” like hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey.

In its statement, Apple stated that as severe weather events become more common, “we predict an increased need for confidence and readiness in the area of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones.”

Apple is not the only manufacturer of consumer electronics working on safety features for their products. However, Apple’s gadgets also include a strong selection of health features, such as heart monitoring and fall detection for seniors, which support its overall safety message.

One speaker at the unveiling event noted, “iPhone is there when you need it most.” “That trust is especially crucial when your safety is at jeopardy.”

We might be witnessing the beginning of a new messaging approach at Apple: You want its devices when things go wrong.