Via a statement, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is once again urging Apple to activate support for FM radio in the tech giant’s iPhone devices, especially in light of the series of hurricanes that have hit the United States within the last couple of months. Pai also said that he has called on the mobile industry several times in the past in order to get FM chips activated in just about every recent smartphone released in the US mobile market. The overall point of this is to let people affected by natural disasters to have a means for getting connected especially when wireless networks are down. Pai then took the opportunity to praise those phone makers who have already enabled FM support in their respective devices, while calling on others to start doing the same, particularly Apple.
As for the iPhone maker, it has responded to the FCC chairman’s call, saying that its newer iPhone models, specifically the new iPhone 8 models and last year’s iPhone 7 devices, are not equipped with the right antennas necessary to provide support for FM broadcasts. In other words, the smartphones can not be made to receive FM signals at all. The company, however, stressed that users can take full advantage of numerous safety features already built in the devices. For instance, people can quickly call for emergency assistance and even directly gain access to Medical ID data from the Lock Screen. Furthermore, Apple explained that it has activated emergency notifications from the government, including Weather Advisories and AMBER alerts.
Although Apple did not reveal which specific iPhone models are fitted with an FM chip, it is generally assumed that some do possess this component, like nearly all other smartphone devices out in the market. When activated, this chip can allow mobile users to gain access to signals broadcasted from FM radio stations. Why exactly is Apple not enabling FM support on its iPhones? The company has not revealed the reason, but some believe that the phone maker simply does not want FM radio stations to compete with its own Apple Music music streaming subscription service.
Pai is not the only one pressuring Apple to activate FM support on iPhones. As a matter of fact, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, is also backing the chairman. Various lawmakers are also calling for mobile manufacturers to enable FM chips in their handsets, while the National Association of Broadcasters has lobbied the wireless industry for several years now, in a bid to have FM broadcasts made easily available to all smartphone owners.
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