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Apple to Unlock iPhone's/Touch's FM Radio

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 22 comments

Apple is supposedly developing a radio application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, unlocking the dormant FM hardware.

9to5Mac is reporting that Apple is currently working on an in-house radio application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. This application will supposedly run in the background and offer the same features as the FM radio seen on the new iPod Nano. There's even mention that the app will feature Live Pause functionality.

Both the iPhone 3GS and the iPod 3G have an FM transmitter and receiver installed, however currently there are no apps to activate the latent hardware. The same holds true with the iPhone and iPod Touch 2G, however these models have FM radio receivers only. Apple previously performed the same stunt with the dormant Bluetooth hardware, activating the tech long after the devices hit the market.

9to5Mac added that Apple is currently attempting to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchase functionality into the radio app using Song Tagging, thus delaying its release. The site provides an example on how the tagging will work: users will hear a song on the radio and can then push a button to pull up and purchase the tune in the iTunes Store. Of course, this will only work if the station supports Song Tagging.

As seen here, the iPod Touch 2G features Broadcom's BCM4325 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip. The company's overview clearly reveals that the chip has a built-in FM receiver in addition to the integrated IEEE 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.

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  • 11 Hide
    Honis , October 14, 2009 2:56 AM
    duckmanx88O_o why did it take so long for this?
    Its Apple. They like making things and figuring out how it works later. They get away with it because of the blind fanboys who buy every product with an half eaten apple on it.

    They are unlocking it as a hit against the Zune HD. They will charge you for the update. The fanboys will rave the radio interface is innovative. Some will even say it reinvents the radio (the best thing for radio since the transistor). A Tom's writer will say that last one.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    konenavi , October 14, 2009 12:00 AM
    Cool so they can charge iPod users another $9.95. Go Apple!
  • 7 Hide
    burnley14 , October 14, 2009 12:01 AM
    Is this app going to cost anything? If so, that is ridiculous to charge for the ability to use hardware you already paid for.
  • 2 Hide
    konenavi , October 14, 2009 12:03 AM
    burnley14Is this app going to cost anything? If so, that is ridiculous to charge for the ability to use hardware you already paid for.

    I've got a Touch, they did it with Bluetooth no reason not to do it again.
  • 2 Hide
    BallistaMan , October 14, 2009 12:13 AM
    I've also got a touch. I held off on OS 3 because I simply didn't need most of the functions it offered, and the few I cared about (copy/paste mainly) I wasn't about to shell out more money for (my freaking 1-bit Palm had that). I finally bought it a couple days ago because Apple had lowered the price to $4.95. I still feel ripped off, but at least they only got half as much of my money. Unless Apple has something else *really* compelling, I intend to wait for the price cut again.
  • 4 Hide
    duckmanx88 , October 14, 2009 1:29 AM
    O_o why did it take so long for this?
  • 11 Hide
    Honis , October 14, 2009 2:56 AM
    duckmanx88O_o why did it take so long for this?
    Its Apple. They like making things and figuring out how it works later. They get away with it because of the blind fanboys who buy every product with an half eaten apple on it.

    They are unlocking it as a hit against the Zune HD. They will charge you for the update. The fanboys will rave the radio interface is innovative. Some will even say it reinvents the radio (the best thing for radio since the transistor). A Tom's writer will say that last one.
  • 4 Hide
    maigo , October 14, 2009 3:59 AM
    wtf? really, you spend like 2 grand on a phone/contract then you gotta pay extra to use the hardware. I bet iMacs can do bluray, it'll just cost another $500
  • 2 Hide
    ravewulf , October 14, 2009 4:12 AM
    Zune has already had that for ages, plus now they have HD radio!

    I don't have one myself (although I'd like a Zune HD when I can afford it), but this was one of the major selling points made for the Zunes.
  • 0 Hide
    will_chellam , October 14, 2009 6:04 AM
    built in transmitter is pretty cool though - if you need it for your car etc i bet the 'cost' of the upgrade is less than one of those tunecast devices - and a hell of a lot neater....

    On a side note - I was bored on a night shift last night looking at the apple (uk) ad with an iphone and "16 More ways to get things done" I added up the cost to be over £100 for the apps they listed!
  • 0 Hide
    r3t4rd , October 14, 2009 7:44 AM
    Here's the anaology for you less technically inclined people:

    You were born with a penis/vagina....Steve Jobs charging you for using it regardless of what *use* that might be.
  • 0 Hide
    tester24 , October 14, 2009 12:52 PM
    Ah I love my Zune, at least I don't have to pay to have them unlock "features".

    However I give it a few weeks maybe days after the "app" is released before they hack it. But the the iPhoners it will void their warranty...
  • 0 Hide
    cyprod , October 14, 2009 1:10 PM
    wow, song tagging! So you can just tag it and download it off itunes! How innovative, why didn't anyone else think of this!

    Oh wait, my Zune HD has exactly this with zunepass. But I'm sure apple will say they came up with the idea.

    And as for the FM transmitter built in to the device, I don't think that's possible to enable. The device would have to have been approved for that use by the FCC before they would have been allowed to sell it, and the FCC usually won't certify a device for a functionality without having seen it....you know, functional. Especially not a device which broadcasts on allocated bandwidth.
  • 0 Hide
    tinnerdxp , October 14, 2009 2:49 PM
    nice one apple ;) ))
    Sensible as usual :) )) This is why I "love" apple products :) ))
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 14, 2009 6:23 PM
    lol, Cyprod, you're such an idiot, where does it say that Apple thinks this idea is theirs? Where does it say how original it is? Yes, there are many apple fanboys out there, but the apple hateboys are so much worse, all you people do is bitch and moan about apple fanboys, just stfu and ignore them, so goddamn annoying, putting words in peoples articles or mouths.
  • 0 Hide
    konenavi , October 14, 2009 11:13 PM
    BallistaManI've also got a touch. I held off on OS 3 because I simply didn't need most of the functions it offered, and the few I cared about (copy/paste mainly) I wasn't about to shell out more money for (my freaking 1-bit Palm had that). I finally bought it a couple days ago because Apple had lowered the price to $4.95. I still feel ripped off, but at least they only got half as much of my money. Unless Apple has something else *really* compelling, I intend to wait for the price cut again.

    Well I upgraded mine the hacker PC/Unix way, not really. I just found the Firmware hosted on a website and downloaded it. I was just angry at the whole lets charge em 9.95 for the features it already has thing.
  • 1 Hide
    falconqc , October 15, 2009 6:39 PM
    I have to say its pretty interesting that the 3G and 3GS have FM transmitters as well as recievers. I would love to be able to boradcast locally on FM so that I could have my iPhone play songs in my car.

    Also would be interesting if the reciever/transmistter could work on the VHF bands used in aviation or boating. Granted the transmitter wouldnt be that powerful or of any use really, but in the case of electrical failure or radio failure in my plane, would be cool to be able to at least have receive capabilities.
  • 0 Hide
    tester24 , October 18, 2009 6:40 PM
    I wonder how long it will take for hackers to unlock this feature?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , November 23, 2009 10:19 PM
    When do you think this fm radio will actually get on to the itouch?
  • 0 Hide
    dmitche3 , March 3, 2010 6:02 PM
    Do you smell VAPORWARE?!? It's been 6 months and Apple and websites like Tom's have ticked off a lot of people with false hope. Perhaps this year...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 23, 2011 9:39 PM
    Still waiting...
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