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    Apple appears to be laying the groundwork for a new money-making iPhone feature

    Messages via satellite in iOS 18 will support sending and receiving messages, emoji, and tap-backs, all with end-to-end encryption, as well as SMS messaging.

    Apple

    Apple’s new iOS 18 will make iPhone 14 and later models less reliant on wi-fi or cell connectivity.The company is expanding an emergency satellite messaging feature first introduced with iPhone 14.While currently free, it could become a source of profit as Apple grows its services business.

    Several of Apple’s iOS 18 software features will make iPhone 14 and later models less reliant on wi-fi or cellular connectivity — and could potentially even make the company less reliant on iPhone sales.

    The company is expanding an emergency messaging feature, first introduced with iPhone 14, which enabled devices to contact first responders via satellite.

    While the service was initially free, Apple indicated at the time that it would likely charge for the emergency feature, but then it extended the free period for another year.

    But then, at last week’s WWDC, the company unveiled a non-emergency version of the service it’s calling “Messages via satellite.”

    “Now you can use the satellite capabilities on iPhone 14 and later to connect to satellites hundreds of miles above the Earth to text your friends and family when you’re off the grid,” said Ronak Shah, Apple’s head of internet technologies product marketing.

    The functionality will support sending and receiving messages, emoji, and tap-backs, all with end-to-end encryption, as well as SMS messaging.

    While the emergency service is currently free — and could likely stay that way — the non-emergency version could become a source of profits as Apple grows its services business to offset slowing iPhone sales. Last quarter, the company reported record services revenue while iPhone sales fell 10% from a year earlier.

    For now, Messages via satellite might be most useful as a nudge for owners of older iPhone models to upgrade, especially if the service expands to support calls and other media.

    But the financial upside could be even better for the company if it decides to charge for the service as it does for Music, News, or Apple TV.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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