The latest controversy involving Apple is a curious one: pressure from industry bodies and regulators to activate a feature in its iPhones which the company says does not exist.
The feature is an FM radio chip, with Federal Communications Commission boss Ajit Pai calling on Apple to activate it so that people can receive public-safety FM-radio broadcasts during natural disasters, even if mobile networks are down.
“Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria,” said Pai in a statement.
Broadcasting association the NAB, which has long been agitating for FM radios in smartphones to be activated, has also used the recent hurricanes as leverage in its pressure on Apple.
And yet the company has responded with a statement explaining that “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” while stressing the emergency services and alerts that the devices do support.