As you may have seen, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5 this week. Along with it, Apple device owners will also see an updated mobile operating system, iOS 6, which, among many new feature additions, has been rumored to be capable of receiving Commercial Mobile Alert Service (CMAS) messages, also known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The new operating system will also come as an update to iPhone versions 4 and 4S. So if the new iOS is CMAS capable, this could mean millions of new devices in the U.S. that can receive these emergency alerts.
So far, we at AWARE have not been able to find any official information confirming that the new iOS will be CMAS capable. After the announcement, Apple posted a list of new features that will come with iOS6. Not surprisingly, CMAS/WEA was not included in this list, as it primarily focused on consumer-oriented enhancements.
However, with iPhone 5s set to ship out in the next few weeks, along with the release of the iOS6 update to existing devices, we will soon be able to find out. We will continue to watch this story, so stay tuned.
Daniel Honker is a consultant with SRA International Strategy and Performance Group and the managing editor of AWARE. He advises government organizations in engaging stakeholders, collaborating online, and bringing public input into management processes.