Consider this: you’re stranded on a mountain in the middle of a blizzard, and you find yourself hopelessly loss amidst a sea of white. You glance down at your iPhone, to see you only have about a few minutes of battery life left. Looks like a pretty grim situation, right? Well, thanks to a recently revealed patent filed by Apple, you may just be alright after all.
Apple’s patent (Application #00901149153, if you’re interested) has a few tricks up its proverbial sleeves to help save your life. It seeks to create an emergency mode for cell phones that determines whether or not the phone call you’re making is an emergency call, and acts accordingly to give you the best chance of getting help. First, the phone would make any emergency call harder to disconnect – a glancing blow to the End key won’t mean the end for you. On top of that, emergency mode would disable all non-critical functions of the phone to try and give you as much juice to make the call as possible.
Also useful is the activation of what the application calls “emergency phrase buttons”. Let’s go back to our previous thought experiment, and amend it a little bit. Not only are you stranded on a mountain, but now you’re also being attacked by a polar bear for some reason.
First off, way to go. You had to piss off that bear, didn’t you?
Second, those emergency phrase buttons can read off a pre-recorded statement to an emergency worker on the phone. Not only that, a speech synthesizer can read out your current location (using the GPS that wasn’t turned off by emergency mode), so rescuers will know exactly where to find your hideous, bear-mauled corpse.
Apple’s got a great idea here, and hopefully it’s something we’ll see on an iPhone in the not-too-distant future. Maybe the whole “bear on a mountain” scenario is a little farfetched, but it’s clear to see how useful something like this could be, and hey – once they get everything worked out, it could just be a simple software update away.