9 to 5 Mac is reporting that the new iPhone–whatever it is, and whenever it arrives–will sport a Broadcom wireless chip with the ability to send and receive FM signals. 9 to 5 is saying that it could enable the new phone to broadcast music over stereo systems (a feature some people currently enable by buying a third-party FM transmitter) and to receive FM radio broadcasts (a feature that’s common on other MP3 players but famously absent on iPods).
Assuming that the Broadcom chip is indeed inside the next iPhone, I’d still be surprised to see the phone use it for FM transmitting and reception. Even the best FM transmitters I’ve used are pretty fuzzy and crackly under all but optimum circumstances, and I find it hard to believe that Apple would be satisfied. And the time when the ability to listen to FM radio on an Apple device came and went a long time ago–the wealth of Internet radio that’s already available on the iPhone would make FM redundant.
Or so I think. I’m happy to be proven wrong–especially if Apple and Broadcom have figured out a way to do truly decent wireless FM transmitting to a car stereo…