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FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: September 28, 2017 12:04PM
A good idea

FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday urged Apple Inc to activate FM radio chips installed in iPhones in the wake of major hurricanes.

Pai said Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. Pai said when wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get access to life-saving information. “It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.” An Apple spokesman did not immediately comment Thursday.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: Microman
Date: September 28, 2017 12:10PM
How would this change the way the iPhone would work. What does it mean FM Radio Chips. ? Would this turn the iPhone into a transistor radio?
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: September 28, 2017 12:11PM
They'd have to do it proactively before the disaster. You can't push out an update if cell towers are destroyed and there's no power. Why they don't enable them by default really irks me. I think that should be required. Either remove the chips and drop the price or enable them and move on. Buy disabling them for marketing reasons bugs the crap out of me. They can still use the software to tell what stations people are listening to,so that might help recoup some marketing bucks.



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: tahoedrew
Date: September 28, 2017 12:16PM
I don't know what potential negative effects this would have (on Apple or their devices), but...

@#$%& YOU AJIT! You're not funny: [ijr.com]

And John Oliver burned you SO hard! [www.youtube.com]

~A
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 28, 2017 12:18PM
I used to seek out phones with FM chips (current phone doesn't)
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: M A V I C
Date: September 28, 2017 12:23PM
The FCC chair seems to be missing a key component. Sure my android phone has a FM trip, but I haven't had one that shipped with a FM app for years. Who cares if my phone is physically capable of receiving FM if I don't have an app that will use it? I would have to download one in advance.




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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 28, 2017 12:34PM
Quote
ztirffritz
...Why they don't enable them by default really irks me. I think that should be required. Either remove the chips and drop the price or enable them and move on. Buy disabling them for marketing reasons bugs the crap out of me.

It often is much cheaper to buy a component chip that includes functionality that is not going to be used than to buy a chip that is either custom or not in high production. This is a common practice in all consumer electronics and has nothing to do with "marketing reasons"

Also, as MAVIC has pointed out, without an appropriate app in place to use it, turning on the function does no good.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: rz
Date: September 28, 2017 12:36PM
Meh. My iPod nano has an FM receiver in it, and I think I've used it once. I figure if there's a natural disaster that wipes out all the cellular antennae, it's probably do the same to FM transmission towers too.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 28, 2017 12:40PM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
ztirffritz
...Why they don't enable them by default really irks me. I think that should be required. Either remove the chips and drop the price or enable them and move on. Buy disabling them for marketing reasons bugs the crap out of me.

It often is much cheaper to buy a component chip that includes functionality that is not going to be used than to buy a chip that is either custom or not in high production. This is a common practice in all consumer electronics and has nothing to do with "marketing reasons"

Also, as MAVIC has pointed out, without an appropriate app in place to use it, turning on the function does no good.

And it might be that if it's integrated in a chip that they get from one supplier, that it might not be in a chip from a different supplier (think Qualcomm vs Intel), and there might be additional hardware needed to use that functionality, such as an antenna. And of course software, a radio app.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: September 28, 2017 12:58PM
Sounds like a bunch of BS to me. Just because something happens to be in a device does not mean you payed for it or are entitled to use it. Apple has never even mentioned that there is an FM chip in there. Only reason people know is because someone dissected the phone and looked up all the chips.

I think people would be surprised to find how many unused features there are in devices. On automobiles especially, features are deactivated based on what you paid and simply activated by a code to enable them. My car has the capability for live traffic and accident reporting in the stereo, I didn't pay for it but the capability is there. Everyone would be safer if it was enabled. Does the FCC think all auto makers should enable it for free on all vehicles? A slippery slope the FCC wants to slide down, I don't think they are going to like the backlash or the ride once they start their way down.



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: Microman
Date: September 28, 2017 01:03PM
One example is, when my son bought a new 2005 Toyota Corolla. Dealer wanted to charge for the security system. You know that blinking light in the dash or lower dash, that says your car is somewhat protected. Well he didn't want to pay for it. Later in years, when I took car over, in processing it to my grandson, I had time to investigate, and replaced the dummy black area with a LED from eBay for that model year car. I then proceeded to plug the cables that were in that area to the LED. The car now had the blinking light showing that it was in the security mode. All the dealer did was take out the led from the mounting and unplug it.

You get what you pay for... or just disconnected
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: September 28, 2017 01:07PM
Quote
M A V I C
The FCC chair seems to be missing a key component. Sure my android phone has a FM trip, but I haven't had one that shipped with a FM app for years. Who cares if my phone is physically capable of receiving FM if I don't have an app that will use it? I would have to download one in advance.

That was my point above as well. You can't push out an update, nor download an app, without cell service. You pretty much need to enable it by default and bake it into the OS.



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: jdc
Date: September 28, 2017 01:11PM
“It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.”

A weeeeeeeeee bit dramatic... sheesh.



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: jonny
Date: September 28, 2017 01:17PM
PR has cell service but it is very spotty. Of course, it will improve over the coming days.

I would love to have the FM enabled!
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 28, 2017 01:20PM
Quote
jdc
“It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.”

A weeeeeeeeee bit dramatic... sheesh.

But when it comes to privacy some other people are not humming the same tune.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: September 28, 2017 01:25PM
My phone supposedly has a FM tuner chip but it was disabled for some reason in the Verizon version.



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: 3d
Date: September 28, 2017 01:34PM
Can it be AM radio instead? So i can listen to traffic and the ball game during natural disasters.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: September 28, 2017 02:06PM
Here's an idle daydream...
I want the FCC to mind it's own business and stay out of Apple's... for one.

But what if Apple DID activate the FM chip. And got some FM stations on board...
I am wondering what the bandwidth of FM is, and if simple announment-only TEXT MESSAGES could be transmitted through FM.
Call it an "Emergency Broadcast Text System".

Messages like "People north of Main Street, and south of North Street, your nearest disaster shelter is the High School - Food and Water will be distributed there at 8am, 12pm, and 6pm".

Probably totally impractical... but just a daydream.



Paul F.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: p8712
Date: September 28, 2017 02:56PM
Quote
Microman
One example is, when my son bought a new 2005 Toyota Corolla. Dealer wanted to charge for the security system. You know that blinking light in the dash or lower dash, that says your car is somewhat protected. Well he didn't want to pay for it. Later in years, when I took car over, in processing it to my grandson, I had time to investigate, and replaced the dummy black area with a LED from eBay for that model year car. I then proceeded to plug the cables that were in that area to the LED. The car now had the blinking light showing that it was in the security mode. All the dealer did was take out the led from the mounting and unplug it.

You get what you pay for... or just disconnected

Wasn't there an IBM (360?) mainfrrame that ran 3 ties faster - the tech would 'upgrade' them by cutting a single wire.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: vision63
Date: September 28, 2017 03:11PM
I listen to FM on my phones but you have to use wired headphones which become the antenna.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: sekker
Date: September 28, 2017 03:12PM
This is all about ending access to over-the-air content.

I'd love an FM tuner - I'd use it to listen to baseball games.

But without the tuner, I have to pay for a subscription from mlb.com AND pay for data over the cellular network.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: sekker
Date: September 28, 2017 03:32PM
PS Apple now claims their is no FM radio in IPhone 7 and 8 models. I wonder if true in iPX?
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: billb
Date: September 28, 2017 03:35PM
7,8 and X supposedly don't have FM chips
but those phones that do should have them useful towards public safety especially in emergency

should make for a cheap and easy smear campaign against the chairman though for those who are only capable of smear campaigns



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 28, 2017 04:14PM
Quote
sekker
This is all about ending access to over-the-air content.

I'd love an FM tuner - I'd use it to listen to baseball games.

But without the tuner, I have to pay for a subscription from mlb.com AND pay for data over the cellular network.

Yes, absolutely it's about getting people to pay for more data. plus listening to fm uses virtually no battery power. Not sure why people are against this very useful feature.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 28, 2017 04:23PM
Quote
billb
7,8 and X supposedly don't have FM chips
but those phones that do should have them useful towards public safety especially in emergency

should make for a cheap and easy smear campaign against the chairman though for those who are only capable of smear campaigns

Tim Cook is the CEO. But if Pai is trying to smear him, I don't think it will work. Apple will do it their way.



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: testcase
Date: September 28, 2017 04:28PM
My old iPod Nano has the FM receiver. The headphone cord acts as the antenna. I've only used it a handful of times but, I'm glad it's there and working. In PR, I imagine power outages are still widespread so, the ability to recharge a device may be VERY limited. If anyone relies on AM or FM radio for critical information, they really should have a standard radio with replaceable batteries AND, a good supply of the proper batteries BEFORE disaster strikes. Otherwise, you basically have a paperweight. old fogey smiley
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: billb
Date: September 28, 2017 04:30PM
Quote
Speedy
Quote
billb
7,8 and X supposedly don't have FM chips
but those phones that do should have them useful towards public safety especially in emergency

should make for a cheap and easy smear campaign against the chairman though for those who are only capable of smear campaigns

Tim Cook is the CEO. But if Pai is trying to smear him, I don't think it will work. Apple will do it their way.

Bwah, hah, hah, you need to think outside that box.



The Phorum Wall keeps us safe from illegal characters and words
The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of one's own ignorance. -Benjamin Franklin
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: AllGold
Date: September 28, 2017 07:39PM
On one of the radio stations I listen to regularly, they often have ads about the Next radio app, "free FM radio on your smart phone," touting it as using 3 times less battery power and 10 times less data (I might have the numbers wrong).

I assumed the app was available for iPhones but never checked.



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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: gabester
Date: September 29, 2017 02:30AM
I'll weigh in.

1) I never understood WHY SmartPhones and other modern electronic devices that play audio don't have the OTA radio chip built in, possibly as a standard requirement which the FCC would have the authority to mandate. It's completely trivial to implement and the silicon cost is probably a fraction of a cent.

2) For devices that have it built-in, for example it's integrated into many qualcomm cell modem chipsets, some don't have it hooked up to be able to receive due to lack of antenna. And apparently on smartphones no one includes a built-in radio turner app.

3) While I'd expect power draw to be small for FM radio, I can't say for certain whether the passive radio reception would be less than the necessary 2-way communication for audio streaming data. My gut suggests it's probably less, depending on how bursty the data stream is (i.e. if it can buffer 3 minutes and then idle, that might use less... but if it's only grabbing a few seconds before updating the stream, that would have a lot more traffic overhead.)

4) Activating this function seems like a perfect opportunities for vendors to upcharge after the fact, like Teslas, or the way Apple did it with some of their hardware for a time (the Airport hardware using the draft version of 802.11n for example... you had to pay like a nominal $5 to get the 802.11n version functional once the spec was finalized; Apple claimed to have to do this because of accounting rules.)

Now, I can't understand why anyone would say that they don't want to have an option available if present on the device. I can understand manufacturers not wanting to be forced to enable it now long after devices have been in consumers hands. I can understand wireless carriers not wanting radio enabled because it would reduce their data revenue stream to some degree (although realistically probably marginal, like 2% tops on something where they're making 40% profit.)

I don't like Ajit Pai's politics or the current, generally pro-telecom/TV providers direction of the FCC, and I think the consumer benefit of radio on smartphones would be marginal. And I think this horse left the stable years ago, it should have been a mandated requirement back before the smartphone dominance era was fully established. It could have enabled a rich content industry around "digital radio recording" and podcasting response commentary to talk radio all from your handset. It still has legitimate use cases, but without integrated OS-level support I can't see how this push could possibly succeed. It definitely doesn't have the justification of something like E911, and there are more important things to focus on for the FCC and handset makers like net neutrality, broadband deployment, white spaces, and mesh networking.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: BernDog
Date: September 29, 2017 07:02AM
Quote
sekker
PS Apple now claims their is no FM radio in IPhone 7 and 8 models. I wonder if true in iPX?

And prior to those, if they did have a chip that included that functionality, they've never attached an antenna to it. This is impossible for Apple to do retroactively.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: freeradical
Date: September 29, 2017 08:41AM
I think that AAPL should be required to put GPS in wireless only iPads and the Touch.
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Re: FCC chair wants Apple to activate FM radio chips in iPhones
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 29, 2017 02:49PM
....can the Wonder Twins Powers......activate......it.....???



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