In March 2011, an earthquake known hit the coast of Japan and triggered a massively destructive tsunami with waves that reached as high as 130 feet. The earthquake, measured at 9 on MW scale, was the largest to ever hit Japan and is recorded as one of the five most powerful earthquakes in history. All told, the earthquake and resulting tsunamis resulted in nearly 16,000 deaths, 4,600 missing people, and billions of dollars worth of damage.
In light of that tragedy, Apple has added an early earthquake warning notification to iOS 5 that Japanese users can activate from with in the iOS 5 notification center settings pane. The notification system in iOS 5 is sourced from Japan’s own early earthquake warning system which was described in Time Magazine earlier this year.
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.
The text above reportedly informs users that keeping the earthquake notification setting on reduces battery life – which makes sense given that it’s constantly connected to Japan’s earthquake warning system looking for new updates.
Interestingly, some are saying that earthquake warning features are common in Japanese phones with Chris B tweeting MacRumors’ Arnold Kim that “most feature phones sold in Japan at least alert through SMS.”