In recent years, Apple presentations have started to include a new type of messaging: without an Apple Watch, you could be mauled by a bear, drown inside a sinking car, getting caught in a trash compactor, or even succumbing to hypothermia after falling into a frozen lake.
These disasters have always been avoided with the presence of an Apple Watch. But this year, Apple’s message has started to change again: It’s not just the Apple Watch that can save you from possible death, but also the iPhone.
At Apple’s iPhone 15 showcase, the company opened with an announcement that intertwined the life-saving potential of both the Apple Watch and the Iphone. The video showed people celebrating their birthdays with friends and family, blowing out candles and, of course, receiving “happy birthday” wishes on their iPhones.
As the ad introduced its main stars, subtitles disappeared at the bottom of the screen, such as one that said: “Apple Watch notified you that you had a low heart rate. “I went to the hospital and they operated on a vital pacemaker.” The next described a person who used the iPhone’s Emergency SOS feature to be rescued while trapped in a snowstorm, while another said a pregnant woman was rushed to the hospital for an emergency delivery after her Apple Watch will detect a high heart rate.
The ads are not exactly incorrect: there are dozens of real life reports about people saving yourself thanks to your iPhone or watch. After implementing Emergency SOS on its Apple Watch in 2016, the company added fall detection, an electrocardiogram, and even a blood oxygen sensor. Last year, Apple touted a new crash detection feature for the Apple Watch and iPhone 14, which automatically alerts emergency services when it detects that you’ve been in a car accident (or are just on a wild rollercoaster). And last year, Apple added a feature to iPhones that allows users to contact emergency services via satellite in case there is no cellular connection.
Fitness tracking and on-wrist connectivity no longer help the Apple Watch stand out from the competition
These are undoubtedly great features, but there’s a reason Apple’s approach to advertising them tends to make us uncomfortable: they sell us a product out of concern for our own mortality: buy an Apple device or risk your life. These are ads that reflect fear more than hope, and are in stark contrast to the ads Apple used to run for its devices. A watch ad from two years ago. shows people happily use your Apple Watch to improve your fitness; An early viewing ad shows people using the device to connect with your loved ones.
There could be a reason for this change in focus. Features like fitness tracking and wrist-based connectivity no longer help the Apple Watch stand out from the competition.
Rivals like Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 and Google’s Pixel Watch have caught up to the Apple Watch in terms of health-tracking sensors, but have yet to add accident detection. The same goes for the iPhone. Apple may have just added USB-C and periscope cameras, but Android phones don’t have satellite connectivity yet (although that’s likely coming soon). Not only that, but the addition of new safety features, including satellite connectivity, roadside assistance, and crash detection, helps differentiate Apple’s newest devices from older ones, potentially giving users users a good reason to upgrade.
On Tuesday, Apple revealed yet another reason we might want to have our Apple devices with us at all times: roadside assistance. The service, which is compatible with iPhone 14 and later, allows you to contact AAA via satellite in case your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. While Apple doesn’t pose a catastrophic scenario in which it might need to use roadside assistance, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one depicted in an ad soon.
These security features also have the potential to generate profits for Apple. Apple’s services sector saw record revenue last quarter thanks to its more than one billion paid subscribers to Apple Music, TV Plus, iCloud Plus and its included Apple One service. Soon, this list of services will include Apple’s satellite connectivity and roadside assistance features, as the company’s satellite service is only available for free to iPhone 14 users for two years and offers the same promotion for roadside assistance. road on iPhone 15.
We still don’t know how much Apple will make users pay after that trial period, which will end for iPhone 14 users next year. But Apple seems confident that once it has a customer, it won’t abandon these devices. “They’re with us all the time,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, talking about the watch and the iPhone. “And if you left any of them at home, I bet you’d come back to get them.” When your life depends on it, who wouldn’t?