9to5Mac is reporting that the new version of iOS being launched next month will include an early warning system for earthquakes for customers in Japan. There are large fields of seismic sensors set up in Japan, site of the March quake that killed 16,000. When there is a quake, a mass message is sent out. Japanese-made phones are already required to have this feature but foreign-made phones, like the iPhone, historically haven't.
Stateside, there has been a lot of talk about how to integrate emergency warnings into the phone system. The FCC has begun rolling out just such a system in a limited number of locations.
But the coverage of this Japanese system indicates that it's kind of a battery drain when you have it on. If people lose battery life, wouldn't they be likely to just turn it off and take their chances?