iFixit: iPhone's SOS via satellite feature uses the Qualcomm X65 modem and custom hardware
iFixit is busy tearing apart the new iPhone 14 models and has discovered a Qualcomm X65 modem inside. However, that isn’t enough to enable the new Emergency SOS via satellite service that was introduced with the new models.
“iPhone 14 includes custom radio frequency components, and new software designed entirely by Apple, that together enable Emergency SOS via satellite on new iPhone 14 models,” Apple told Reuters.
The iFixit teardown is still ongoing, so we’ll have to wait before we can have a closer look at this custom hardware. We already caught a glimpse of it in this iPhone 14 Pro Max teardown video.
The X65 modem is certainly part of the equation. Last year Globalstar announced that the X65 supports band n53 – this band was approved by the 3GPP in 2020 for use in satellite-based IoT service. In case you haven’t heard, Apple has reserved up to 85% of the bandwidth available on Globalstar’s satellite network to support the new feature.
The emergency feature will be enabled via a software update in November of this year. This will be a beta test available only in the US and Canada, though not exclusive to North American owners (however, iPhones bought in China, Hong Kong and Macao will not work). Coverage may be spotty above 62° latitude, such as the northern parts of Canada and Alaska. More details about Emergency SOS here.