Rumor Mill: Apple Developing FM Radio App for iPhone?

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iphoneOkay, so, the most interesting tidbit of FM news coming out of the mobile device market recently has been the launch of Apple’s new version of the iPod Nano with its nifty integrated tuner. Fantastic stuff, and long overdue in my opinion. Still, it’s no secret that the iPhone and iPod Touch (or iTouch, as some call it) rule the roost when it comes to mobile. They also have access to the clear and present game changer: The App Store and direct iTunes access.

Now numerous websites have dissected the new iPhones and found that they do contain the hardware to receive FM. It is contained in their chipset, but is just not activated at this point. Speculation tends to run towards the idea that they are working on getting integrated tagging to work with iTunes Store. Then, in the classic words of The Who, we’re “Going Mobile!

Chris Maxcer at MacWorldNews comments on the need for a mobile iTunes store gateway, such as the one provided by the iPhone/iPod Touch, when coupled with FM in his recent column:

With an instant method for buying a new tune, I gotta believe a lot more people will buy a song while on the go — and while this most likely won’t happen while driving in a car already equipped with an FM radio, there’s always buying from the seat of a recumbent exercise bike at the local gym. Not only is this an instant sale for Apple and the artists, but it also has the tidy side effect of teaching consumers to buy songs while on the go through their mobile device.

And that is the reason this rumor is so compelling. The logic of the situation makes it a total win for Apple as they capitalize on the “free discovery” aspect of broadcast radio. Impulse buys and opt-ins are steadily being proven to generate more revenue that subscription models, part of the overall change in the business model that Internet and mobile tech is bringing about.

In simplest terms, as Mr. Maxcer said:

Apple’s move will better connect me to music, which will connect me to the store, which will connect me to buy.

We live in the age of access and immediate gratification. Apple has already proven that they are well aware of this and willing to cater to these qualities, and usually they do so pretty well. If this rumor turns out to be true, then they will have upped the quotient of both for their user base. If we are lucky, they will do it in time for the holidays.

Image: rbitting / CC BY 2.0
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