Engadget reports that satellite radio provider XM Sirius has announced that the company is developing an iPhone application to receive satellite radio content streamed over the Internet.
During a recent earnings conference call Sirius CFO David Frear confirmed what XM Chief Marketing Officer Vernon Irvin told attendees of the Federated Media Conversation Marketing Summit in June 2008 - that the company is working on a native iPhone client for XM's XM Radio Mobile service.
Unfortunately the revelation creates more questions than it answers. For example I'd like to know if XM Sirius plans to offer an "iPhone-only" account for, say, $5 per month. If the only way to receive the content will be via a full $13-$17 per month plan, they can count me out. Judging by the lack of an "Internet only" subscription option, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
XM Sirius needs to realize that creating a cheap "iPhone-only" account option would be a great way to introduce the service to millions of potential new customers and grow subscribers. Trying to get price-sensitive iPhone owners to subscribe to spend $13-$17 per month on a subscription will be like to trying to pick up Jell-O with your hands - most slips through your fingers.
To date, the only way to receive satellite radio streams on the iPhone is to jailbreak it and use uSirius. You can listen to satellite radio on the desktop via the (terrible) Web interface or by using the (excellent) application Starlight.
I canceled my Sirius subscription in January and stand by my posts from November 2008:
The iPhone and the advent of free Web streaming via FStream, Pandora, Last.fm, etc. may be the final nail in the coffin for satellite radio's pay-for-bandwidth business model.
...and from February 2009:
Why would anyone pay $13 a month for music that they can get for free via the Internet?
Will the iPhone kill satellite radio for good or resurrect it from the dead?