Rumor: Apple to awaken dormant FM tuner in iPhone

Rumor: Apple to awaken dormant FM tuner in iPhone

Summary: According to 9 to 5 Mac Apple may soon enable the dormant FM tuner hardware currently sitting idle in the iPhone and iPod touch.9 to 5 reports that Apple is developing an app that offers the same functionality as the FM radio found in the new fifth generation iPod nano.

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http://9to5mac.com/files/image/00000/iphone-fm.jpgAccording to 9 to 5 Mac Apple may soon enable the dormant FM tuner hardware currently sitting idle in the iPhone and iPod touch.

9 to 5 reports that Apple is developing an app that offers the same functionality as the FM radio found in the new fifth generation iPod nano. The new radio.app will be able to run in the background according to the source and "could also be incorporated into the iPod.app before release."

The chipset in the iPhone 3GS and the 2nd and 3rd generation iPod touch models include FM radio tuning, Apple just hasn't yet activated it in software.

This wouldn't be the first time Apple awoke sleeping hardware functionality from its mobile products.  Apple sometimes chooses to leave hardware features dormant in their products until they feel the time is right.  For instance, Apple didn't enable Bluetooth in its 2nd generation iPod touch until 9 months after it was released.  Apple also hasn't enabled the 802.11N +5GHZ wireless networking (which we also hope to see updated shortly) in its latest iPhone and iPods.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

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32 comments
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  • I bet there will be an activation fee

    Apple beat its M$ mentor when it comes to ripping cult members off.
    Linux Geek
    • Silly Penguin !

      M$ was NEVER Apple's Mentor. After all, Apple came first.
      Jkirk3279
  • More BS from Apple

    What a scam they have running. Create a product with all kinds of disabled features, and then slowly enable them later one by one in lieu of real product updates.

    Kinda like buying a car, and having an airconditioner control on the dash but being unable to operate it until a softwre update 18 months later.

    Interesting though that most people would probably associate that sort of thing on a car with a quality assurance problem (ex. they rushed the car to market, they couldn't make it work right, etc).

    Get your camera ready. The Apple fanboys will shortly fall all over themselves to get this cool "new" feature.
    croberts
    • Yeah Seriously

      Not that I would ever use this in my iPhone but that is not the point. If the FM Tuner was there already why disable it? Is it so the can enable it later and make themselves look like some sort of hero like they did with Cut and Paste? I mean some people went gaga when Appple Announced that firmware 3.0 was going to give them cut and paste.
      bobiroc
      • The two of you... silly.

        Who exactly when goo goo over the announcement of cut and past? I
        have yet to find a use for it myself, but I guess I'm glad its there as
        long as it does not get in my way:P As for the radio maybe Apple was
        waiting for it to be ready in terms of power use issues which seems to
        be a major concern with products like these. It could also be that
        there had to be UI considerations taken into account and a smooth
        solution had yet be devised. It could be a combination of these
        factors and others. As for Version 3.0 I think and catch me if I'm
        wrong there was a lot more to 3.0 than Cut n Paste was there not?
        Personally I have no use for FM on my iPhone. I can't imagine using it
        but hey if it makes some people happy and again it does not get in
        my way go for it Apple. After all if there were people gaa gaa over
        Apple adding cut n past it was likely because there'd be one less
        pointless complaint from people like the two I am responding to who
        kept bringing it up as one of the iPhones faults. IT'S THE FEATURES
        BLANK IT. WHY DON'T YOU APPLE PEOPLE GET THE SIMPLE CONCEPT
        THAT IF MY PRODUCT HAS MORE FEATURES IT IS BETTER!?!

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • It's actually a very common error

          Of the technically adept to mistake "features" for "ease of use". It's the same folks who think Sony ereaders are going to blow Amazon's Kindle out of the water because the Sony has like 2 more features than the Kindle or the next smartphone by company X is going to spell certain doom for the iPhone because the new one does like two additional things that like 0.5% of the end users even give a rats rear about.

          I work in the medical field and I see it ALL THE TIME. Vendors sell the "big feature list" then the buyers are left wondering why their technologists are having trouble managing a 10 page, windows based, control screen on the ultrasound units.
          oncall
        • The Koolaid is strong with this one!

          nt
          Hallowed are the Ori
          • Well though out arguments, Oh wait... NOT:P

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
      • I'm with ya

        and I own an iPhone. It could be so much better than it is now - and even right now as "crippled" as it is it still kicks a$$... but the whole thing boils down to Steve Jobs being a massive control freak.

        As for the FM radio... meh. I have the Pandora App, the XM/Sirius radio app, Slacker radio app... yeah it would be cool but I'm don't really care about it either way.
        athynz
      • RE: Rumor: Apple to awaken dormant FM tuner in iPhone

        @bobiroc <br>The same reason that the iPhone 3G has the capability to use many of the "features" that only the 3GS is 'supposed' to do. Take Exchange Server support. The 3G was able to do it fine for a while, then Apple 'patched' it and disabled the 3G from doing so. somewhere around the 3.0/3.1 software update.

        They just want you to go out and buy a 'newer' device that is not much better than the one you already have to get the features that even a 2g iphone could have used if the software wasn't overly restrictive.
        Liath.WW
    • Seriously??!!

      Seriously? You're comparing an iPhone to a car? I think you've "fallen over"
      and hit your head or something.
      mistergsf
      • nothing wrong with cars ...

        your reaction makes you look silly.

        People use car references to compare in IT all the time. It's a familiar and well understood product.
        ericesque
    • OTOH

      They could have chosen to wait for the hardware updates until they were ready to release the software. It's possible that there were licensing and/or software issues that delayed the release of the software. Had they done that, then there would be a new rev of hardware and everyone with recent purchases would be upset that they didn't get the tuner a month ago!

      So basically, if you have one of these products then you have a product <i>that does everything advertised at the time you purchased it</i> and presumably does what you purchased it for. Now there is the <i>rumor</i> that you might get extra functionality beyond what you were promised and beyond what you had any right to expect at purchase time so you bitch and moan? If there is a fee and you don't want to pay it, then simply use the device for the purpose you bought it for.

      Strike up the band, it's time to throw a pity party.
      use_what_works_4_U
      • So you are saying

        Apple could have had licensing issues to use license free FM Radio Waves and Apple does not have the ability to develop software and features found on competitor devices so they delay them for years.

        The point is the hardware was put in the device and this rumor/news makes it look Apple intentionally disabled it for unknown reasons. Just seems a bit shady to me.
        bobiroc
        • maybe they just had higher priority features...

          to complete and this one just fell off the
          table at the current time... could be as simple
          as that. that's what they said about copy and
          paste.. do you think they would take designers
          off of enabling MS Exchange support to do copy
          and paste OR FM radio?.. if you only have so
          many resources you need to make choices.. the
          reason people have iPods in the first place is
          because they hate radio and would rather play
          their own music on their own terms.. i call
          putting FM radio at the end of the heap a
          pretty good call.. i'm not going to use it even
          if they enable it.. why? i have my own music.

          why would they not put in the all singing, all
          dancing chip and just provide as much features
          as they can to take advantage of as much of the
          available hardware as they are able to at each
          release? so are you all saying you would
          rather they put in chips that only do exactly
          what they are able to provide software for at
          the time of release.. then when they are able
          to produce software for new feature sell new
          hardware that as well has the capabilities as
          the current software can provide? that's
          stupid.. you'd be spending 100s of dollars to
          get they next feature instead of nothing in the
          case of iPhone and $10 ever now and then for
          for major releases for iPod Touch.

          think it through guys.. stop thinking about
          bogus conspiracies... apple puts the best,
          future proof chips in the device as they can
          get their hands on irrespective of what they
          can currently supports and provide software
          for.. then when they have the resources to
          provide the software to take advantage of all
          the hardware capabilities they write said
          software.. think guys!! does that not make all
          kinds of sense?
          doctorSpoc
        • If you're the "conspiracy minded" type

          Then yes, everything Apple does is going to be part of some grand conspiracy to make money. Why would Apple want to release just another FM tuner when the Pandora app is there? They want, as the article implies, to release a full featured app that integrates with the iTunes store. For me personally, I would like to see an app that integrates FM radio as well as available internet radio with the iTunes store. If you're going to do it, do it right.

          "Just seems a bit shady to me."
          An FM tuner ability was never hinted at or implied by Apple to be available for the iPhone. Perhaps look for a better explanation. They got an FM tuner thrown in by the manufacturer at minimal cost. Why not throw it in and figure out what to do with it later? But rather than rush an unstable and half-baked tuner app out the door, that they will have to revise a dozen times down the road, they are waiting until the app is ready.
          oncall
        • Did they disable it or simply not enable it?

          See there are many ways to look at any given subject. You choose for
          some odd reason to see something sinister where Apple is concerned
          that sounds like a personal issue to me and not one Apple has to
          address. Maybe the chip set needed to do something else came
          bundled with the FM ability as well? Maybe it was a power issue or a
          UI issue and Apple considers those two WAY more important than FM.
          Maybe it was simply a time and resource issue and it was very low on
          the priority list. The first problem you had is to assume that Apple to
          any action to disable the FM chip set rather than simply not enabling it
          in the first place. Sheeeeezzzzzzzz.

          Did Steve Jobs give you a swirly in HS and we just don't know it?

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • Just Apple's Track Record

            Apple has a pretty good history of omitting features that are found standard on most competitor products. I am not just talking about the iPhone either which omitted plenty of Standard features otherwise found in cell phones for years. Look at their iMac and Macbook lines. Until recently the wouldn't even include a SD or Multi-Card reader which have been found in desktops and laptops as a standard item for years. That is my point and I probably would never use an FM tuner but I know from reading forums it is a feature that many wish they had and if this ZDnet article is true and they included the hardware to receive radio transmissions and now years later are thinking about enabling it I guess I have to question why and I have heard over and over that Apple has some of the best software developers in the business so why are they behind the times with what should be a simple application.

            And as for the title of your Post "Did they disable it or simply not enable it" is like saying "I didn't lie, I just didn't tell you"
            bobiroc
          • Not a lie... it FM was not listed as a feature.

            "IF" FM was important to the user then he/she should have gone with
            a product that had said. Or was it not all that important just a wish
            item? I guess based on the satisfaction and continued robust sales of
            the iPhone it would be the later. I am well aware that Apple does not
            compete based on "features" alone. That is my point exactly. I could
            not list the features that others manufacturers but in their MP3
            players only to find and continue to find that they could not put a dent
            into Apples wild sales. Which again goes to prove my point.... keeping
            the UI or the product simple and focused is better than adding the
            kitchen sink in many ways. As for the iMac I a few months ago
            bought the top of the line iMac and as far as I know it does not have
            an SD or multi card reader nor do I care but am I wrong here? I don't
            think I'd use it but hey one never knows I actually for a couple years
            did not think much of the iPod... could not see a reason for one.

            In the end "IF" Apple wants to take the time to get the important
            things right and add to it's products feature list as time goes by I'm
            good as long as I the consumer understands that when I purchase an
            Apple product it will do X and not Y. As the consumer I have no
            complaints as long as it does what I'm told it will do. If Apple has
            other reason for not enabling a given feature or features but chooses
            to do so later again I'm good. I may never need or use said but hey
            one never knows. I don't know what I would do differently if I had an
            SD or multi card reader in my iMac nor would I have bought an iMac if
            I had a need for said and it did not have it.

            I can't tell you over the years how many so called "features" that
            people from the PC/Windows world have mentioned that we in the
            Apple/OSX world are lacking. Both in the Mac line, OSX, iPhone and
            iPods. I can honestly say that to date I have yet to want or need any of
            them. One of the many reasons I tend to look side ways when
            someone start spouting "features". I know what features I need/want.
            I purchase based on those wants/needs. I don't suffer from "features
            envy" nor do I drive a sports car:P

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • That's interesting

            that you ended your post with a Car reference. Sure it was not a listed feature but like someone referenced above it is like putting the hardware in your car for air conditioning and then 2 -3 years later saying oh if you update your computer flash you can now have air conditioning. It is a shame that you cannot see how this could be construed as a way to make Apple look amazing buy enabling a feature that they included the hardware for years ago. Seeing (unless something changes) that people with iPod Touches will have to pay for a firmware upgrade to 3.x to probably get this feature for which the hardware was already included secretly I think that even a person that defends apple on everything can see how this can be perceived as deception.
            bobiroc