A popular feature in many natively developed handsets in Japan is now making its way into iPhones. With the terrible tragedy in Japan this year, citizens are on high earthquake alert. One of the major new features in iOS 5 is the new notification system for everything from text messages to calendar alerts. Now users in Japan will also receive notifications of any earthquakes.
The unfortunate limitation of these notifications is that they will only detect earthquakes around 2 minutes before the full force of the blast hits, so it does not leave a lot of time to react, but it at least gives the person time to take immediate cover under a desk. Any warning is better than nothing, and even if notifications such as these only save a few lives, they are still lives saved, and there is no amount of value that can be placed on that.
For Japanese iPhone users, the notification will come similar to a text message, and it will alert as soon as the first signs of the earthquake are detected. All devices using this alert system feature a standardized tone, so people know they are not just receiving a text message or email. Obviously, the system is useless if people do not realize there is imminent danger.
iOS 5 is expected to release sometime in the fall, and will most likely coincide with the launch of the next iPhone.
Source: The Register