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The next version of Apple’s iOS software will include an earthquake warning notification system for Japanese iPhone owners, according to 9to5Mac.

After the damaging earthquake that hit Japan earlier this year, Apple decided it was time to hook its popular smartphones into the Japanese early warning system that can give people up to two minutes of warning time before a quake hits. Apple head Steve Jobs reportedly sent out a note to Apple employees in Japan after the earthquake occurred, assuring them the company would do whatever it could to help employees and their families.

Japanese iPhone owners previously used individual apps to stay connected to the early warning system. The new feature is listed at the bottom of the iOS 5 Notification Center pane and can be turned on and off with one swipe (see photo above). The notification does drain battery a bit because it maintains a constant connection, but many users will likely not mind.

While the beta is available now to developers, iOS 5 will officially launch in the fall, most likely at the same time the next iPhone launches. The most recent iPhone 5 rumor, which supposedly sources an AT&T vice president, says the next-gen iPhone will be released in “early October.”


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