Back in September, there was a growing amount of pressure on Apple to activate FM radio support in its iPhone lineup.
The requests were coming from the NAB and the FCC, both groups saying that Apple should put a focus on national emergencies, where FM radio support can play a big supportive role, and activate the feature in its popular smartphone lineup. With so many natural disasters impacting communities all over, the FCC and NAB decided to put pressure on Apple to activate the feature, which they stated would help save lives.
For its part, Apple responded to the demands, saying:
“Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts. iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it’s not possible to enable FM reception in these products.”
Apple went further, saying that it is also not possible to activate the FM radio in older iPhone models, either.
But, that isn’t stopping the NAB from changing tactics. In a recent blog post, the organization cited the fact that Apple has, in the past, supported FM radio in its products, and even points to a now-discontinued item to help sell the point. Specifically, the NAB calls out the iPod Nano, saying that Apple supported FM radio in that product for many years:
“Apple has built and offered a wonderful FM app in their iPod Nano for many years. They know how to make FM work, and work well, in their mobile devices. Apple even wrote its own Nano app that allows the user to pause live radio and buffer up to 15 minutes of content.”
And, if that isn’t enough, NAB is also calling out the fact that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is from Mobile, Alabama. They point out that Mobile has been impacted by a variety of hurricanes over the years, including the most recent one, Hurricane Nate. Because of Cook’s connection to Mobile, the group believes he should be keenly aware of the potential benefits of FM radio support:
“Apple CEO Tim Cook hails from Mobile, Alabama and attended Auburn University. Mobile has been impacted by at least 10 different hurricanes since 1969 and that was prior to Nate, which brought a nearly six-foot storm surge and flooding, so I have to believe Mr. Cook has a personal appreciation for the damage these storms can inflict. We invite him and Apple to reconsider activating FM radio in iPhones, and we stand ready to work together to enable this important service.”
As it stands, it does not look like Apple has any intention of putting FM radio support in the iPhone lineup, or any of its products for that matter, even where it might be feasible.
What do you think? Should Apple include FM radio support in its products like the iPhone?