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Early Earthquake Warning System In iOS 5 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the escape-the-quake dept.
tekgoblin writes "A very important and functional feature has been added to Apple's iOS 5 for Japanese users: an earthquake warning system. This new feature may allow the people of Japan to be warned early enough to get out of harm's way and ultimately save lives. Most phones sold in Japan have some way to warn the user of Earthquakes."
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Early Earthquake Warning System In iOS 5

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    • by Salvo (8037)

      http://xkcd.com/937/ [xkcd.com]

      This is a better one, but covers Tornadoes instead.

  • Obligatory XKCD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Monday August 22, 2011 @08:07AM (#37166230)

    I can't wait to see the reviews! [xkcd.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The alert causes the phone to vibrate?

  • Apple cocksucking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bjourne (1034822)

    It is also believed that most phones sold in Japan have some way to warn the user of Earthquakes.

    Great, so now when the stupid iphone gets the same feature other phones have had for years it is somehow news?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Everyone remembers Chrysler as the first manufacturer with standard electronic ignition even though Fiat actually did it first. Why? Because it was fucking Fiat.

      • by dzfoo (772245)

        Who was fucking Fiat, Chrysler? I thought nobody liked the French. Or are they Italians? Cool then.

                    -dZ.

      • by S.O.B. (136083)

        I remember when Fiat meant Fix It Again Tony.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          I remember when Fiat meant Fix It Again Tony.

          Ahh, Saturday. I remember that time well.

    • by Lennie (16154)

      I think if people only see news about iPhone first-smartphone-with-app-x then that is a probably not good, this news might help to balance that view a little.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Because people love copying other people's stories but can't be bothered to read them first, that's why. The originator of the story was quite clear that this was correcting a conspicuous omission rather than adding a novel function.

    • by scorp1us (235526)

      From what I know, they just used a regular SMS alert. What this probably means is it bypassed the SMS, and uses the apple push notifications API.

    • by vlm (69642)

      It is also believed that most phones sold in Japan have some way to warn the user of Earthquakes.

      Great, so now when the stupid iphone gets the same feature other phones have had for years it is somehow news?

      The news is, the business model is to roll out AFTER the once in a lifetime disaster. I predict California residents will have to wait until a couple months after their "earthquake of the century" to get their warning system.

      In a way it makes sense, if you deploy an earthquake sensor network right before the earthquake of the century, you'll only get a couple years use out of it before its destroyed in the earthquake. But if you wait, and deploy after the quake of the century, then you'll get something li

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, because Apple marketing are that fucking good.

      From the iPhones that have survived falling from skydivers, to the guy who supposedly got a free iPad from Apple saying "Apple said yes" because he had to return it with the reason "Wife said no", all of these sorts of stories are orchestrated attempts to ensure Apple is consistently in the news.

      This is why many people sincerely believe Apple has like 90% of the smartphone market, when in reality they only have about 15% - 20%. This is why we have "Well App

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        I'm not sure that this feature is even in the release notes of the beta, much less marketing.

      • This is why many people sincerely believe Apple has like 90% of the smartphone market, when in reality they only have about 15% - 20%.

        Weird... I could swear when Jobs first announced Apple would release the iPhone, he said they were only interested in capturing 1% of the market. What the Hell went wrong?

    • Well the post informed that it may be part of iOS 5 and that most phones in Japan have this feature. Two things I didn't know so its news to me. Is it earth-shattering? No.
    • The system already works in iPhones since it goes as a network SMS IIRC, but the change here I think is that it will override the silence setting that most people here in Japan will be using because the polite thing to do on board of public transportation is to put your cellphone in silent mode and turn it off when you are near the reserved seats for elderly, pregnant women and handicapped. The end result is that most people have their phones in silent mode most of the time.

      Now, what I would love the netwo

    • I know, right? I mean, if the primary audience of /. readers were residents of coastal Japan who were considering iPhone purchases but who wouldn't switch until this feature was available, this would be HUGE. But while it's a cool feature, its appeal is to a fairly limited demographic, and since it's not a major new innovation, it's really just a bullet point in a sales sheet as far as mobile phones in Japan go.
  • How is this a 'feature of the OS', and not just another bundled app?

    Apple seems to call it an app if you install it after the OS, from their store; but call it a feature of the OS if it is installed at the same time. Huh?
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday August 22, 2011 @08:22AM (#37166310)

      They're providing support for an SMS emergency alert standard that all 3G phones in Japan are expected to have. It's built into the OS at a low level. It's not a user-facing app.

      • yes, wake me up when some phone gets a P-Wave sensor.

        Could a P-Wave sensor in a phone be actually useful since it's not attached to any structure?

        Well see it soon, after Apple launches iOS 6 with the innovative iPee-Wave sensor and It's standalone adapter to bolt your phone to the wall in pentabular fashion, now theres no excuses to hold it wrong!

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        I have been in several earthquakes over there, including the big one in March. Immediately after it happens, sometimes while it is happening, there is a warning on all TV and radio stations, and now on phones too. The thing is that Japan is largely earthquake proof - they have magnitude 5 quakes regularly, at least several times a year. Anything that isn't build properly won't last long, and the building regs are very strict and well enforced.

        When the magnitude 9 quake hit everything shook and some stuff fe

    • by dzfoo (772245)

      Notice that at no time is Apple calling it anything. In fact, Apple hasn't announced the feature at all, whether app or bundle.

              -dZ.

  • by moonbender (547943) <moonbender@NosPAM.gmail.com> on Monday August 22, 2011 @08:21AM (#37166304)

    Next up: Geiger counter.

    • by mad flyer (589291)

      Been there, already done that:

      http://www.radiation-watch.org/p/blog-page.html [radiation-watch.org]

      No need for wanktastic radiashiun induced memory errors or other bull...

      • by jandrese (485)
        There's something fishy about that plugin, namely that it connects via a 3.5" DIN plug that is somehow on the bottom of that iPhone.
    • Justin Bieber proximity warning app
  • If most phones in Japan have this feature anyway, why is this news?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because it's Apple. They pay a massive amount to the "press" to release "articles" on Apple products. Factor in the huge zealotry of this cult, and you'll see why the media perception of Apple usage is over 99% of the population.

    • Because you can't ride a single train with at least 2 iPhone users in the same wagon here in Tokyo. For what I have seen it is by far the most popular cellphone here.

  • The summary has almost more info about the system than TFA. Do not waste your time reading it; do not feed click-whores. Even the time.com article linked in the TFA only talks about earthquake detection but nothing about this iOS feature.

    Now up to the question: What is the issue with the OS? Does it detect vibrations characteristic of an earthquake or it is just an app that connects to a warning center? In the later issue this is as related to iOS as, say, Notepad is related to Vista.

  • Japan-manufactured phones have had to support this feature since 2007. The way each carrier supports it differs slightly. Basically, Japan's EEW/EWS triggers a broadcast cell broadcast (SMS-CB) in the affected areas. Most European carriers also support the SMS-CB feature. Consumer-grade EEW is also broadcast over the air and internet: compatible radios and TVs will retune when the alert is received, and turn on if necessary. As far as I'm aware, somewhat oddly the internet service is not free. Similar warn
    • by JanneM (7445)

      It's worth noting that there's been a free Android app for this on the -a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=jp.twiple.android.quake&feature=search_result">market (including Softbank phones I assume) for a good long while already.

      It works quite nicely; I've gotten alerts for every small quake we've had since I installed it, before they happened. You get a graphical display with the epicenter and you can set your minimum strength, distance and shindo (surface effect) to filter out uninteresti

  • Would have been sweet if they'd been able to develop an algorithm to detect an impending earthquake from the slight vibrations in the iPhone itself. Then it could work no matter where you are. Oh well.

    • Would have been sweet if they'd been able to develop an algorithm to detect an impending earthquake from the slight vibrations in the iPhone itself. Then it could work no matter where you are. Oh well.

      Not so much for the iPhone, but for a MacBook, there is something fun [softonic.com]. Amuse your friend(s), scare your coworkers! Look like you're doing real work!

      Kinda a neat, pointless application.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      The earthquake warning system works because it can warn people before it gets to the point that their phone can detect it. By the time the earthquake gets to that point, there wouldn't be enough time to evacuate the building or whatever people plan to do, not to mention people riding on trains of listening to music where there could be similar vibrations.
  • ... that can't be achieved by writing an app? In Android (for example) an app can listen to SMS messages and do anything it likes in response, e.g. set off an audible alarm. This app could even be baked into the phone, or available from marketplace or some official site. I assume iOS can do the same right?
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Nothing. In fact there already is an iOS app that does this. However there's an expectation that this function be integrated into the handset, and I believe it's mandatory for domestic manufacturers to include it.

  • This is truly an illustration of a recent joke where each new iPhone feature raises the same reaction - damn, they did not have it before !?

    Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System (ETWS) has been available for years...

  • I am not sure how this is news. Sure, it is fascinating that Japan has a system to alert for earthquakes through phones. But according to the article, most phones in Japan have this feature. So, how is iOS being late to the game news? And the article is very GRAND about how iOS does this for the people of Japan. Bullshit. It does it because of the feature that is supported on iOS finally.

    Big whoppee! IS slashdot being used as a marketing spam engine like bitcoin to get any news out on Apple? Gimme a break!

    • Big whoppee! IS slashdot being used as a marketing spam engine like bitcoin to get any news out on Apple? Gimme a break!

      All right, you want that Slashdot start covering Michelle Bachman? Sarah Palin? Ponies?

      We've already run through the 'beat up Google / Microsoft / RIM and bog help us, HP" this week. What else are we supposed to do here? Besides, tangled amongst the Apple hate and the weak jokes (and I might add, several run on sentences and NO 'IN SOVIET RUSSIA' jokes) is a description of a rather cool alert system and the social reasons why it's important.

      Obviously, this is of only intellectual (and I use the term loo

  • I hope it just vibrates in the event of a earthquake...
  • They are not the only one. ETWS (Earthquake and Tsunami Warning System) was added [kernel.org] in Android in 2.3.5 (Gingerbread)
  • http://www.roam3.com/ [roam3.com] are developing a system to give early warning of earthquakes to USAR here in Christchurch.

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