The US’ National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is returning to a familiar hobby-horse: the demand that smartphones ship with FM radios so their users can tune in to broadcasts on the go. In fact, the NAB is claiming that Apple’s iPhone already HAS an unused FM tuner as part of its wireless networking chipset. “Users could avoid expensive data charges and save battery life if they listen to the FM chip for free.
Listening to streaming drains your battery three to five times faster than listening to the exact same content on the FM chip,” claims the NAB. But it’s glaringly notable that this announcement is coming as another country, Norway, announced it will be switching off its FM signal for good at the start of 2017, with its minister of culture promising that “radio digitisation will open the door to a far greater range of radio channels, benefitting listeners across the country”. Persuading Apple to put any focus at all on FM in its flagship smartphone at a time when some countries are making the move to digital seems a faint hope, at best.