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A Latent Radio Hidden in Your iPhone?

Hot on the heels of the new FM-enabled iPod Nano comes the rumor that there’s actually an FM radio already hidden inside current iPhones, and that Apple is about to turn it on. Apparently the radio circuitry is currently used as part of the Nike+ that connects up certain sneakers to report exercise data back to your phone.

According to 9 to 5 Mac, which originated the rumor, the hold-up on the radio is getting it integrated into the iTunes music store the way that the new Nano is, so that users can tag songs for future purchase as they listen. I’m not entirely sure I buy that explanation, since I’d think it would be harder to implement in the Nano–which has no application platform–than the more powerful iPhone and iPod touch.

If Apple does decide to wake up the sleeping iPhone radio I’m wishing for more recording time than the Nano’s short fifteen minutes.  Recording airchecks on the go, like the CC Witness Radio, would be a great bonus to have in addition to not having to take a separate radio with me when I travel. But I wonder if the FM radio will sap the battery all the faster, or if it will be more efficient than listening to streaming internet radio which kills the battery with just an hour or so of listening. Perhaps users of the Nike+ app might be able to illuminate this mystery based on their experiences.

I’ve heard no timeline for release of the radio app, but we’ll be sure to keep you up to date here at Radio Survivor.


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