iOS 5 Boasts ‘Quake Alert’ Warnings for Japanese Users

iOS 5 Boasts ‘Quake Alert’ Warnings for Japanese Users

We’re all excited about Notification Center, Twitter integration, iMessage, and all the other wonderful features that will come with iOS 5 later this year. But for Japanese users there’s one feature that may be far more useful than tweeting a picture of your cat directly from your camera roll: quake alert warnings.

References for a ‘Quake Alert’ notification were first discovered in iOS 5 beta 2, and according to 9to5 Mac, Japanese users running the latest iOS 5 beta can now activate the feature within Notification Center settings. Once activated, the feature will provide a warning to users up to two minutes before an earthquake.

Time, who profiled Japan’s earthquake warning system after the devastating events earlier this year, explains the country’s early-warning system:

Japan has the most advanced earthquake early-warning system in the world. A nationwide online system launched in 2007, 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.

For those of you whose Japanese isn’t as good as it could be (like mine), the screenshot above warns that this feature will deplete your battery life and incur data charges because of its constant connection to Japan’s earthquake warning system.

With this feature built-in to iOS 5, Japanese users will no longer have to rely on third-party apps in order to take advantage of quake warnings on their iPhone.

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  • Turner Ashely

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/CentBid

  • Beap

    That system is far from sure fire. I have it on my phone. It did not warn me about the big 3/11 shock which severely rattled me in my Tokyo office, but it did warn me about many subsequent inconsequential aftershocks.

  • Alex Maxham
  • Adam Alex

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/CentBid

  • Adam Pascale

    “the feature will provide a warning to users up to two minutes before an earthquake” – as earthquake prediction is impossible, this probably means “before the earthquake waves arrive”. That may give people very nearby the epicentre a few seconds to brace themselves. The two-minute warning will be for people about 700km away from the epicentre, where the effects probably won’t be that significant. Don’t get me wrong, It’s a worthwhile feature if you live close to an active area, just don’t expect it to give you minutes of warning in the big one.

  • yoyogipark

    Actually, the message in your screenshot says nothing about data charges. It says only that turning on the quake warnings may decrease battery life.

    The English message for the beta, however, does mention data charges. But that’s not because it’s “constantly connected” to the warning system. It’s only because a warning requires transfer of data, which like any other data transfer may incur a charge for users on limited data plan.

  • lals16
  • sarahadam1716969851

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/CentBid

  • CharliK

    It’s great that Apple cares so much for the people of Japan. But what about the folks in California and other earthquake zones. what about Florida and its major hurricane season. What about Oklahoma and Tornado Alley. 

    They should be setting up alerts from all early warning systems. 

  • imajoebob

    California doesn’t have any comprehensive earthquake warning system, so there are no alerts to broadcast.  There’s already (at least) one Tornado/severe weather alert in the App store, and I believe a number of state agencies offer text alerts for everything from severe weather to amber alerts.

  • AliceSherman

    ,I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from, bit.ly/BidShop

  • yoyogipark

    Although new to the iPhone, this has been a standard service offered in Japanese phones for several years. As you say, it is sent out when the quake hits, and for those far enough away, the warning may give a few seconds to prepare. From my experience in Japan, the warnings are typically very short, in the 10 to 15 second range. Often the warning alert sounds as the quake is felt. A 2 minute advance warning is clearly the most optimistic and very rare case. Since the March 11 quake, the 10 to 15 second warning is just enough time for everyone in my office (and I imagine most other offices in Tokyo) to stop working and stare at each other waiting in fear.

  • lls566

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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