Will the iPhone Go FM? Maybe. But I Kind of Doubt It.

By  |  Monday, April 6, 2009 at 10:11 am

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…


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Evan Says:

    Where it would be nice to have FM receiving capabilities, would be for locations that broadcast the audio of TV channels over FM, like at some gyms. Those are the times that I envy my wife’s Zune. She tunes right in while on the treadmill, while I’m reading lips.

  2. Bill Grant Says:

    I must have a really good one transmitter because I usually get a pretty good sound from my iPod in most places. Sure, there are some problem areas, but on the whole my experience has been good. I live 5 minutes from NYC so there is no shortage of interference.

    I’ve also used lousy transmitters so I know what that can be like.

    Yesterday I forgot my iPod so I jammed my iPhone in there (which, while unsupported seems to work). The bigger problem was if I left airplane mode off, as the data transmission created feedback. If anything this would be a good reason not to do it on the iPhone.

  3. bud Says:

    If they DO do this, it may be at the request of ATT, who does not want their cell bandwidth landgrabbed by streaming services like Pandora et all.

    As it is, I think radio died in the eighties, killed by its own business model. And I have no interest in FM Broadcasts. For Linking to a car stereo, Bluetooth makes more sense.

    I thought getting Satellite Radio down to that size would be a natural for the Cell Phone Market, but may be too late for Sirius XM