National Association of Broadcasters Again Urges Apple to Add FM Radio to iPhones

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Apr 12, 2001
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Following Apple's clarification that iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips or antennas designed to support FM signals, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has expressed some doubt about Apple's statement and has called on the company to add FM functionality to its future iPhones.

In a blog post, the NAB points to a series of iPhone 8 teardowns that indicate the iPhone 8 uses a Broadcom chip with an integrated FM radio core as evidence that Apple's devices already have some of the hardware required for FM radio support.


According to Apple, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 8 do not currently have FM radio chips or antennas to support FM signals, and it is not clear how simple it would be for the company to add these features to future devices. From a statement made to MacRumors:
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 is not possible to enable FM reception in these products.
The disagreement between Apple, the NAB, and the FCC is related somewhat to their various points of view. Apple's claim that recent iPhones do not have the necessary hardware to support FM radio is indeed true, which means Apple can't simply flip a software switch to activate it.

The NAB seems to be making the case that it would be relatively trivial for Apple to make hardware revisions to enable it in future devices considering the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip in the iPhone can support it and Apple has proven it can incorporate FM antenna connections in the iPod nano.
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.

However, Apple has specifically chosen not to offer this functionality in their iPhone. Indeed, Apple has disabled FM chips despite the capability being available on the communications module within the iPhone. This means other app developers cannot offer FM apps either.
In its blog post, the NAB appeals to Apple CEO Tim Cook, highlighting the number of hurricanes experienced in Mobile, Alabama, Cook's hometown, since 1969, and calling on the company to introduce FM support as a way for customers to get news alerts during disasters.

FM radio functionality in the iPhone first started gaining media attention last month, following a series of powerful hurricanes that struck several states. At that time, FCC chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement urging Apple to activate FM radio capabilities in its iPhones, which Apple later said was not possible.

"It's time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first," Pai wrote. "Do the right thing, Mr. Cook. Flip the switch. Lives depend on it."

Article Link: National Association of Broadcasters Again Urges Apple to Add FM Radio to iPhones
 

orev

macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2015
443
785
Dear Ajit Pai,

The way you get companies to do things for the public good is to REGULATE THEM using YOUR GOVERNMENT-GRANTED POWER to do so. You are the head of the damn FCC, so if you want them to do it, make them! Groveling like a baby does not make companies do things voluntarily.

Signed,
The Taxpayers who want you to do your job and stop being an industry stooge.
 

asopublic

macrumors member
Mar 27, 2008
51
74
I evacuated from the Atlas Fire last week. I thought the alerts from Nixie were great. I made sure my phone was not in Do Not Disturb mode and turned up the volume while sleeping. The Solano County Sheriff's Office also had an online map with all the fire borders, evacuation zones, and road closures. It was just better than radio.
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
6,811
2,715
Seattle, WA
What about the phones not even having the necessary hardware and antennas do these people not understand?
They do understand it is not possible on current shipping products. What they want is Apple to install FM antennas on the next model of iPhone (and I guess iPad) going forward and then link them to the existing FM firmware in the Bluetooth/WiFi chipset Apple uses.
 

spiddyman007

macrumors regular
Jun 17, 2017
172
72
I evacuated from the Atlas Fire last week. I thought the alerts from Nixie were great. I made sure my phone was not in Do Not Disturb mode and turned up the volume while sleeping. The Solano County Sheriff's Office also had an online map with all the fire borders, evacuation zones, and road closures. It was just better than radio.
shhhhhh. we just want free radio
[doublepost=1508362054][/doublepost]I'm honestly considering getting the iPod nano because it has an fm radio in it
 

coolbreeze

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2003
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What about the phones not even having the necessary hardware and antennas do these people not understand?
Did you even read the article? They understand it quite well and are taking issue with Apple actively choosing not to include FM chips. They even cite the iPod nano's FM chip and 15 minute pause/buffer feature.

Why people are angry about this, I'll never know. It would be a welcome addition.

Edit: perhaps my post is misleading. Sure the Broadcom chip may/may not have FM capabilities...only Apple can tell us for sure. Can it be enabled via an OTA software update? Nobody knows for sure. It's weird that Apple said the hardware was missing from the 7/8, only to magically admit it's there but possibly turned off. Tim being sneaky for no reason at all.
 
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longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
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The problem will be with the antennas. With the Nano (and likely the 6S and prior iPhones), the FM antenna was the headphone cord. Now that Apple has done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack, they would have to use one of the other internal antennas, which in terms of FM antenna size, is tiny (the longer the better).
 

coolbreeze

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2003
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Obviously, Apple doesn't want to enable it worrying that it might drive some Apple Music subscribers away.
This argument is old and tired. I use Google Play Music on my 8+ every day. There are plenty of alternatives to Apple Music and FM isn't one of them. Not because of the missing chip, but because FM sucks and cannot replace a paid streaming service.
 

mozumder

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2009
865
2,368
Hell No!

The reason this is being promoted by the FCC is because the FCC is run by a right-wing corporatist, Ajit Pai, who's goal is to maximize profit for Clear Channel. It stopped being a public service a generation ago.

FM radio at this point is basically like your spam inbox, due to companies like Clear Channel. It has nothing to do with promoting the arts or informing the public. It's pure junk.

If you want it for emergency use, the cellular network is doing fine for that. That's why you had so many emergency text alerts during the hurricanes.

Get rid of FM radio, and use that bandwidth for enhanced cellular service that can reach into buildings.
 
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coolbreeze

macrumors 68000
Jan 20, 2003
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If you stop and think what their point is, it's for emergency use. As in Katrina levels the entire LA/MS coast and took out cellular towers with it. There are still FM waves reaching the area. Everyone clings to their phone before they ever would a stand alone radio.

They can get safety and potentially life-saving updates from said iPhone w/FM chip.
 

spiddyman007

macrumors regular
Jun 17, 2017
172
72
I could be completely off here but I wonder if they don't do this because ultimately it could mess with network reception and cause issues with other frequencies the device uses.....just a thought.
most radio frequencies in the air interfere with our reception on a day to day basis anyway. I'm pretty sure that apple just wants its users to not get free music out of fm radio and they want customers to spend 10 dollars every month for apple music. samsung has fm radios in their flagships but if they had a music streaming service they probably would cut out the chips for future phones (in samsung phones you use your headphone cable as an antenna and download a 3rd party app and you can tune into whatever station you like)\but then again

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&O=&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876,{creative},{keyword}&gclid=Cj0KCQjw95vPBRDVARIsAKvPd3LMQLi50jZMSkkAm0-Mzt3d04HT3YVV9Nk_ro1MlDIeAK-MZPkI21UaAnsOEALw_wcB&is=REG&m=Y&sku=1104989

theres that solution, its a bit bulky but whatever
 

blackberrycubed

macrumors 6502a
Feb 26, 2013
659
681
they do not want to do this because they want every last penny from the music subscription they have going. They even made the free radio through itunes to be now a part of the paid music subscription..... They will never enable the fm even if that meant loosing one paid music subscription cancelling and listening to free music.

Apple can shout all day long that they care about the customer, and everything revolves around customer (BS everything revolves around maximizing profit). They are simply in this just like all the rest in the business industry to make as much $$$$$ as possible.