August 23, 2011
Apple Japan Installs Early Earthquake Warning System In iOS5
According to 9to5mac, Apple Japan is adding a new earthquake early warning system to their Japanese iOS5 iPhones.According to the BBC, the earthquake warnings are typically issued through radio, television and text messaging under the Area Mail Disaster Information Service. For SMS (Text Messaging) the system works by sending out a mass cell broadcast (SMS-CB) to all handsets in the area.
Japanese law has compelled 3G cellphones to include the SMS-CB technology since 2007, but many foreign made phones do not currently support it.
The service is run by the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), which claims to offer Japanese residents “valuable seconds“¦ to protect themselves before strong tremors arrive.” Japan´s three major phone carriers (NTT docomo, au and SoftBank Mobile) already support the service.
The phones that support the service play a special tone when the JMA sends out its broadcast, even sounding an alarm when in “silent” mode. The warning system is the “most advanced earthquake warning system in the world. It can detect tremors, calculate the epicenter of the quake and send out warnings from over 1,000 seismographs placed around the country,” according to Time´s Lucy Birmingham.
The instantaneous nature of the warning system provides users from a couple seconds up to a few minutes warning so they can prepare for impending disaster, possibly moving away from danger if possible.
This will be a new feature for the Japanese iOS5 system, warning users that enabling the feature may reduce the life of their battery. Currently iPhone users rely on third-party applications for their iPhones such as Yurekuru Call, according to 9to5mac.
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