Apple iOS 5 to include earthquake alerts for Japanese users


If you thought the most useful part of Apple’s upcoming iOS 5 mobile operating system was iMessage, then you might want to reconsider: According to 9to5Mac, Apple is incorporating early earthquake warning notifications directly into iOS 5.

The notification system will be directly connected to Japan’s highly-complex national earthquake early-alert system, which gained international attention for its sophistication after the devastating eathquakes and tsunamis that caused mass destruction to the Asian country during March of this year.

In fact, according to Time magazine, Japan’s earthquake early-warning system is the “most advanced” such system in the entire world. “It detects tremors, calculates an earthquake’s epicenter and sends out brief warnings from its 1,000-plus seismographs scattered throughout the country, one of the most earthquake-prone nations on the planet,” writes Lucy Birmingham in Time.

As of now, the Japanese often rely upon third-party mobile applications like Yurekuru Call, which also sends alerts to users when an earthquake may be imminent. In iOS 5, users will be able to turn the notifications on and off, depending on preference. Why wouldn’t someone want to be warned if an earthquake is coming? Well, the system does quickly deplete the iPhone battery life, as it is constantly communicating with the national earthquake monitoring system to check for updates.

Matters of life and death aside, iOS 5 will be packed with a variety of awesome-looking features, including the aforementioned iMessage, which is an private messaging system between iOS device users, similar to BlackBerry Messenger. Another notable add-on is Twitter integration, which makes it easier for iPhone users to share everything from pictures and videos to contacts and maps.

We don’t yet have a release date for iOS 5, though it will likely become available with the release of Apple’s next iPhone (purportedly called iPhone 5), which is said to be set to hit stores in October.

Check out everything you need to know about iOS 5 here.

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