The earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan earlier this year took a massive toll on the country, with over 15,000 confirmed deaths and an estimated total cost of over $300 billion dollars. In natural disaster situations, early warnings are hard to come by, but Apple is trying to do its part by included an integrated earthquake warning system in the Japanese version of iOS 5, the next major update to the company's popular mobile operating system for iPhone and iPad.
The feature will provide popup notifications when the country's earthquake monitoring facilities identify a potential threat, which can provide citizens with precious minutes of preparation. The feature can be turned on or off via a simple toggle switch in the settings menu, but Apple warns that it may slightly hamper battery life due to its need for constant contact with Japan's warning centers.
Mobile disaster alerts are a great way to help protect people from unpredictable events, and the Unites States government is already at work creating an all-encompassing warning system for mobile phones. Apple's inclusion of Japan's earthquake alerts is clearly a great step forward, and will hopefully be able to play at least a small beneficial role, should a similar tragedy rear its ugly head in the future.
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