FCC Urges Apple to Protect Safety of Americans by Activating FM Radio Chip in iPhones [Updated]

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007

    the recently announced Google Pixel 2 will not receive FM radio.. fwiw

    GOOGLE's announcement of its new phone and other hardware included one note of concern to radio broadcasters: its new GOOGLE Pixel 2 flagship smartphone will come without an analog headphone jack, following the lead of APPLE's iPhone, which discarded the jack with last year's iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Phones with activated FM tuner chips use headphone cords as their antenna to receive broadcast signals, and the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack indicates that the Pixel 2 will not be able to receive FM signals.
  2. BaltimoreMediaBlog macrumors 6502


    Jul 30, 2015
    DC / Baltimore / Northeast
    It looks like Tim Cook has been caught in a lie or at least a partial lie.

    From industry publication Tom Taylor Now's Newsletter. The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) is now taking on Apple, doing a teardown of iPhones, and stating that every iPhone from the iPhone 7 down has an FM chip that could be used. Here's the analysis...

    "Who’s right? Apple says newer iPhones don’t have FM chips. NAB says otherwise.

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s request – not a command – that Apple activate purportedly dormant FM chips in its iPhones (for public safety reasons) was followed by a surprise from Apple. The company carefully said that “iPhone 7 and 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them, nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals.” That’s a great point that numerous NOW Readers have brought out – you’d need some kind of external antenna, even if the iPhone FM chip were activated via software. They’re not like Android-based smartphones. Apple said “It is not possible to enable FM reception in these products.” Now here’s the NAB – “Since 2012, NAB has commissioned quarterly ‘tear-down reports’ from ABI Research on a wide variety of smartphones.” It says ABI concluded that “every Apple iPhone built during that time, including the iPhone 7, has a chipset that includes support for FM radio.” Again, though, you need more than a chip to turn that handset into an over-the-air radio receiver. NAB continues – “Apple also continues to sell an iPhone 6S with an FM chip that is not activated.” NAB “encourages Apple” to “activate this feature.” Just as Chairman Pai urged Apple to “step up to the plate.”
  3. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 46 years ago
    A note about FM antennas in mobile devices:

    Although the usual way is to utilize a headphone cable, there's no reason why an internal active antenna cannot be used in its place.

    In fact, Infineon put out a LNA (amplifier) block specifically designed to help with that... back in 2009. It's only about 8mm x 8mm. Along with it, you can use an embedded antenna that's about 1cm x 3cm ( half inch by a little over one inch) in board size.

    So a headphone is not needed, if you can find some space inside.
  4. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2009
    Ah, but they haven't had an issue in the past, unlike Apple. And I would say they are just copying Apple rather than wanting to get rid of FM which is relatively inconsequential to the manufacturing process. In other words, I think this is more of a design decision than to sell more music. If anything, they probably are looking to sell their fancy new bluetooth earbuds.
  5. BaltimoreMediaBlog macrumors 6502


    Jul 30, 2015
    DC / Baltimore / Northeast
    I don't think it has anything to do with Bluetooth earbuds. They have intrinsic value with/without FM Radio or headphone antennas.

    The whole point of deliberately excluding FM radio is because it is FREE! And it therefor competes with cell phone company and manufacturers paid services.

    This issue is not going away by the way. It's going to come up again real soon with the rollout of ATSC 3.0, Next Generation TV, being tested right now in Charlotte, NC and Washington, DC/Baltimore. Through this tech, you'll be able to watch your local TV station for FREE via IPTV built within the ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV layer. The FCC might even mandate this technology at some point in phones, but at the moment, it's just being tested.

    Apple and any company with content media interests will have a conflict of interest in declining to use these technologies. Avoiding analog FM is much easier since its old technology and Digital HD Radio just hasn't caught on in America as expected, but the demand for local TV on tablets and cell phones will probably be much greater when the public first sees this. Keep in mind, because it's broadcast TV, there are no cell phone charges here. Even paid streaming content via ATSC 3.0 would be outside of the cellular spectrum, hence no use of WIFI or cell charges. The only requirement as of yet on local TV stations is that their free local broadcast of network programming or their main channel's programming be FREE.

    Now this only applies to the U.S., but ATSC 3.0 will be global in nature. South Korea already has it. Japan probably will soon. I have no idea what Europe's plans are as of yet.

    And as I stated before even though people keep disputing this, FM radio is within the TV band, hence also within the cellular band as a whole.
  6. jdsingle macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2011
    An emergency plan shouldn't be reliant on the government. Kind of scary that when I state emergency plan you automatically assume government involvement. I recommend you go learn how to fend on your own in case the government isn't there to hold your hand.
  7. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Oct 17, 2011
    How does that relate to knowing the information that is being announced?
  8. ChasSC-Mac-Guy macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2014
    Ok, I am going to take issue with one thing Apple made in their rebuttal statement...

    "Users can dial emergency services..."

    Uh, they ain't dialing **** when the hurricanes take out the cell towers. (Just ask our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico) Apple should not have tried to make that argument, it makes them look dumb.

    They might be right about the ear buds of the 7 and 8 not being able to act as an antenna, since they no longer use a standard headphone jack. That one I can see. But unlike the Nano, the iPhone DOES have internal antennas, which already connect to the comms chip. But from what I can tell with the iPhone 8, Apple does not use the Snapdragon's companion chip that has the FM radio in it, but uses a different RF module. Not sure about the 7. The older models (before the 7) did have the FM chip in there, and they could be enabled.
  9. Bacillus, Oct 18, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017

    Bacillus macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2009
    How sad that a tech company doesn't have a clue what happens if only 7% of the population calls 911 - thereby completely hogging the telecomms infra even under regular conditions.
    The Apple board seems to get strangled in its half-truths (around how monetizing AppleMusic comes before customer security of life..) So now we get tentative interpretation of trivialities...
    Of course the largest and (supposedly) most innovative company can put an FM antenna in any iPhone - if it wishes. It is just 1 extra wire - that just adds a single squirrel's pubic hair in volume.
    And if that wouldn't fit: We did sacrifice the headphone jack supposedly "to accommodate for a larger haptic engine" Congrats Phil ! You now have the chance to sophisticate the largest/dumbest taptic engine - now so big it could double as an antenna by itself.
    Good luck Apple, making the smartest use of the dumbest part of the smartest phone. You might even get involved in hi-tech (...)

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