Monday, 22 August 2011

The Japanese version of the iPhone 5 will include an earthquake warning system

Apple said earlier today that the Japanese version of iOS 5, Apple's latest mobile operating system, will let you know in advance if an earthquake is coming at least a minute or two before it hits. You might say that just a minute or two isn't much, but it's still better than nothing.
Such functionality is common in natively produced mobile handsets, but imported brands have been very slow to integrate the warnings which use a standardized tone and go off even if the phone has been set to silent-- there are some things worth interrupting any meeting for, and a major earthquake even smaller than the one that devastated Japan last March certainly is one of them. With its latest iOS 5 operating system, Apple has now integrated its service. Not that users get much of a warning, as Time reported when looking at how the early-warning system operates. The service isn't based on predictions but rather on early warnings signs that an earthquake has already happened.

Smaller vibrations travel faster than the building-toppling shocks of the quake itself, so depending on your distance from the epicentre, you might get 90 seconds or a couple of minutes' warning.
That's long enough to pull a car over to the side of the road, or step back from the open heart surgery you're performing, or hide under the desk which is the recommended procedure for most people.

And there have been mobile apps linked to the service before, but with iOS 5 it's fully integrated into the iPhone's Notification control panel. The new OS features a new notification center from where the user can define what's important to them and in the Japanese version that includes local earthquakes.
Apple's new operating system is expected to power the next iPhone, and to be launched in the next few months. It was announced in June, but various features have emerged in the developer releases as the product gets finalized ahead of the launch.
It will be interesting to see if the Cupertino company will include the same feature or variants of it in versions that will be shipped to other countries. We will keep you posted.

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