As the Alerts and Notifications blog broke last week, Apple’s new iOS6 will allow customers’ iPhones and iPads to receive Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) alerts, also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). This means everything from iPads to iPhone3GS’s and newer models that use iOS6 will be able to receive CMAS/WEA messages. Apple labels them as “Government Alerts” and it looks like users are able to opt out of AMBER and other emergency alerts by simply adjusting the settings on their devices. Based on the display, users who opt out of these alerts, may not realize that they could still receive a Presidential alert. Since a sitting President has never issued one of these alerts, it is unlikely someone would receive this type of alert.
To put this news into perspective, let’s look at how many people this could potentially impact. iPads are expected to continue to dominate the U.S. tablet market in 2012 with an estimated 53.2 Million iPad users and iPhones account for a third of U.S. smartphone users, translating into roughly 33.3 Million iPhone users. In fact, based on Apple’s first quarter sales for this year, there are more iPhones sold than babies born in the world every day. This represents tens of millions of people who now have CMAS/WEA enabled devices and it means that tablets can now receive alerts which takes CMAS/WEA beyond smartphones.
Apple is another large player in the commercial mobile eco-system who is partnering with the government to provide enhanced safety to its customers. Apple’s participation will hopefully encourage other companies and agencies to support CMAS/WEA. This is a huge boon to CMAS/WEA for future adoption and it will be interesting to see what kind of direct or indirect impact Apple’s move will have on public alerts and warnings.
Here is a clip from CNET on the debut of iOS 6: