New iPhone feature could save Aussie lives

·2-min read

Australians living in remote regions could soon put in a call for help without the need for phone reception.

Apple launched its new iPhone series on Thursday with a range of new capabilities.

One key feature will allow users to send text messages to emergency services using satellites in the absence of a cellular or Wi-Fi connection.

Deb Charlton from NSW Farmers said the new feature would put safety in more pockets once it becomes available down under.

"For a great big land like Australia, being able to call for help when you're out of coo-ee will be a game changer," Mrs Charlton said.

"While this won't help us deal with the issue of data connectivity or being able to run your business from the paddock, this promises to be a major step forward for safety."

In some instances, users will also be able to share their location via satellite when they have no other connectivity.

Large parts of NSW experience mobile black spots where there is limited or no mobile phone reception.

An independent report commissioned by the federal government and released in February found mobile black spots persisted across regional Australia.

The expert panel found coverage expansion to remote and sparsely populated areas was difficult due to a limited return on investment for industry.

"The vast majority of individual submissions to this review have highlighted both the role that mobile coverage plays in the economic productivity and social wellbeing of regional consumers, and the serious impacts that a lack of mobile reception can have when people need it most," the report said.

It recommended the government look at funding models for its $875 million mobile black spot program to increase competition, while also auditing coverage performance across regional Australia.

The new Apple feature will be free for the first two years before users will have to pay.

The tech giant also launched a vehicle crash detection system, which automatically notifies emergency authorities if it detects the user has been in a prang.

The latest features will initially be rolled out across Canada and the United States before being expanded to other parts of the world including Australia in coming months.