Also true, I don’t listen to radio anymore, preferring to time shift my entertainment via a mixture of playlists on my iPhone in my car, a number of podcasts to supplement talk radio, and Maps and Waze to handle my traffic needs. Who needs radio? If it’s not needed, then why does an iPhone have an FM radio receiver already built in? And why doesn’t Apple turn it on?
Oh So Many Questions
What most iPhone customers don’t know is that Apple already has an FM receiver on the iPhone but it’s not turned on and you won’t be able to find an app on the App Store that does the deed, either.
Why? Well, you know, radio is dead, and all that. The FM receiver is built into the iPhone’s hardware, specifically tucked into the chips used for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Almost all smartphones made in recent years have the same capability.
AT&T says they’re going to turn it on for their customers. Next year. Their Android customers, that is. Why doesn’t Apple want to turn on FM radio?
I’m sure the officially sanctioned Cupertino answers are many and varied, so here’s what I think (because Tim Cook wouldn’t respond to my email). Two words: battery life. Even the National Association of Broadcasters, an antiquated group of industry standard bearers who represent those who would benefit by having a hundred million new FM radios turned on say that battery life in a smartphone running an FM radio is abysmal.
Antennas are an issue, too. FM radio loves big, brawny antennas, and that’s exactly what you won’t find in most smartphones. I wonder if headphones and cables plugged into an iPhone could act as an antenna. Hey, how about Beats Antenna Cans? All too often Apple is ahead of the curve even while we think it is behind the curve. Guess what’s going away sometime soon? FM radio. Government officials in Norway say FM radio is going the way of the Dodo bird and Sarah Palin’s presidential hopes in favor of digital radio.
There may be other more valid reasons than Apple dissing antiquated technology by refusing to Free FM Radio. Apple makes money by selling us audio programs that can be listened to instead of radio, so by implying that radio is dead, or radio signals can cause cancer, or that no one listens to radio, Apple remains in a position to sell us more music and distribute more podcasts to our mobile devices. So, why would Apple want to unlock FM radio in a few hundred million iPhones?