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The NAB still wants Apple to enable FM radio features in new iPhones

Last month the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) called for Apple to implement FM radio feature in the iPhone to help save lives. The tech giant said recent iPhones don’t have such a feature, but the NAB is still asking Apple to implement it.

“Broadcasters are providing information on how to evacuate quickly, where flood waters are raging, how to get out of harm’s way if there’s a tornado or a hurricane,” Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), told Bloomberg. “The notion that Apple or anyone else would block this type of information is something that we find fairly troubling.”

The NAB has been lobbying the industry for several years to allow phone users access to the FM radio feature. Many manufacturers — including Samsung, LG, and Motorola —allow the use of the chip. Apple is the only major holdout, according to Wharton.

However, the Cupertino, California-based company issued this statement regarding the matter: ““Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered 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.”

That answer does satisfy the NAB. Citing a number of iPhone 8 teardowns, the organization says Apple deliberately disables the FM core integrated into Broadcom’s communications package. 

“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,” says the NAB. “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.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.