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Apple exploring HD Radio for future iPods, iPhones

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
The addition of an HD Radio receiver to future handheld devices from Apple could allow users the ability to scan and search through live radio content without having to channel flip.

A new patent application from Apple this week centers around HD Radio, a trademarked wireless radio format owned by iBiquity, which allows both AM and FM radio stations to simulcast digital and analog audio within the same channel. The application suggests that future handsets from Apple, such as the iPod or iPhone, could embrace HD Radio technology to allow users greater flexibility when listening to broadcast media.

Entitled "Digital Radio Tagging Using an RF Tuner Accessory," the application states that users could use a handheld device to scan all stations, or only for stations delivering high-quality digital audio content. Collecting a list of digital stations and the accompanying "raw digital data" broadcast with them would allow users to scan and search stations based on the content that is currently playing, or a number of other factors included in the data.

"Enhanced metadata and searching can provide the listener the ability to refine station choices without having to listen at length to any particular station, and further can facilitate tagging broadcast tracks for subsequent access and/or purchase," the application reads.

With respect to tagging and purchasing tracks, Apple already offers a similar feature on its most recent iPod nano, which features a built-in FM radio. The iPod nano's iTunes Tagging feature allows users to tag songs they like when they hear them on the radio. Songs can then be previewed and purchased from iTunes when synced with a computer.

But Apple's new portables could go beyond FM with an HD Radio tuner, allowing full integration with HD Radio -- a feature that has been rumored for some time. The system describes both an external radio receiver, wirelessly transmitting audio and data to the portable device. It also suggests that such data could be shared with a stereo system in a vehicle.



Last November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was in talks with iBiquity to bring HD Radio to future models of the iPhone and iPod touch. At the time, the trademark holder released the Gigaware HD Radio Receiver, a hardware accessory that -- along with a free App Store application -- allows users to listen to HD Radio broadcasts of local stations.



Apple and iBiquity partnered in 2007 to bring the iTunes Tagging feature to devices that receive the broadcast medium. Like with tagging on the iPod nano, iTunes Tagging with HD Radio allows users to "tag" songs they hear for a later purchase via the iTunes Store.

HD Radio was one of Microsoft's main selling points of the Zune HD, the portable media player that the Redmond, Wash., software giant hoped to position against Apple's industry leading iPod touch.
post #2 of 74
It does seem rather odd that there is no radio for the iPhone. I don't need it, but I am sure others disagree.
post #3 of 74
^ I agree only I'd use it.

I would so dig this and if they throw in better integration with motor vehicles - wow!
post #4 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

... I would so dig this and if they throw in better integration with motor vehicles - wow!

Well, now that it has the gyro, it should be possible to use your iPhone as a wireless controller.
post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristophB View Post

^ I agree only I'd use it.

I would so dig this and if they throw in better integration with motor vehicles - wow!

Tunein radio and app like it are fantastic and already meets the need.
post #6 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

Tunein radio and app like it are fantastic and already meets the need.

I use tune-in radio and it meets basic needs. I'd like something that's better quality audio and off the GSM network.
post #7 of 74
Is Apple planning on adding an analog phone jack to their iPhone, too?

I find it hard to believe that HD Radio is going to really take off. I find it harder to believe that Apple's going to include it on their devices.
post #8 of 74
It will be cool if Apple does it, but when MS did it with the Zune HD, the response here was largely negative, with a lot of people even calling it pointless.
post #9 of 74
And who would I have to sign contract with for that HD radio this time? Any exclusive agreements for Apple to bind my iPod to something/someone I do not want and the only gain is for Apple and that company? Nice.

As long as I do not need to sign up with anyone for fixed period of time you can provide me any tuners in iPod as you want... just like when I buy the car (I can cancel trial without any penalty).
post #10 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

It does seem rather odd that there is no radio for the iPhone. I don't need it, but I am sure others disagree.

Just get Pandora and you can tune to hundreds of stations even foreign.

Internet streaming is the future. Not some legacy way of distributing signal with content over the air. That includes TV broadcast.
post #11 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

And who would I have to sign contract with for that HD radio this time? Any exclusive agreements for Apple to bind my iPod to something/someone I do not want and the only gain is for Apple and that company? Nice.

As long as I do not need to sign up with anyone for fixed period of time you can provide me any tuners in iPod as you want... just like when I buy the car (I can cancel trial without any penalty).

This isn't like satellite radio, it's basically like HD television in that regard: a digital broadcast technology. All you need is the correct equipment to utilize a broadcast signal and it's free.
post #12 of 74
@maciekskontakt

Radio is ad supported, and the list of HD stations is growing. So if Apple adds the ability to see what songs are playing across all HD stations at any given moment it would be a huge added value at no extra cost. Also, Pandora is great but you need an internet connection... something that usually does require a signed contract last I checked.
post #13 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

Just get Pandora and you can tune to hundreds of stations even foreign.

Internet streaming is the future. Not some legacy way of distributing signal with content over the air. That includes TV broadcast.

Well, yes, but with carriers capping bandwidth, Pandora could be an expensive proposition if you aren't on WiFi. Admittedly, you have access to more options with Pandora, but you won't burn through your 3G data cap with HD radio. And, as for "over the air", well, think about that. Everything seems to be moving to "over the air". And, especially since you've expressed a preference for not having to pay for content, one would think you would be a fan of "over the air".

(Obviously, I'm mixing meanings of "over the air" above. It's intentional.)
post #14 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

It does seem rather odd that there is no radio for the iPhone. I don't need it, but I am sure others disagree.

I have it on the EVO and it's nice for at home listening while i'm doing stuff (NPR) or for about a 2 minute span of my train ride in the morning since some of my train ride is subway which obviously doesnt work with FM broadcasts. It's a nice to have, but it's not a killer feature.e
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post #15 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

This isn't like satellite radio, it's basically like HD television in that regard: a digital broadcast technology. All you need is the correct equipment to utilize a broadcast signal and it's free.

HD radio does not stand for high definition. this isn't like hd tv at all.
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post #16 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

I have it on the EVO and it's nice for at home listening while i'm doing stuff (NPR) or for about a 2 minute span of my train ride in the morning since some of my train ride is subway which obviously doesnt work with FM broadcasts. It's a nice to have, but it's not a killer feature.e

Doesn't NPR make an APP for iPhone and Android? Why use a radio when you can stream it?
post #17 of 74
Seems well overdue. Why even the most basic radio wasn't enabled in the new iphone makes no sense considering that they have it in cheap nano's.
post #18 of 74
Next up: Apple re-patents the toilet seat.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #19 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

HD radio does not stand for high definition. this isn't like hd tv at all.

I never said it was like HD TV in that regard, just that they are both digital broadcast technologies. It's always a good idea to read to the end of a sentence before replying.
post #20 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

Just get Pandora and you can tune to hundreds of stations even foreign.

Internet streaming is the future. Not some legacy way of distributing signal with content over the air. That includes TV broadcast.

WOW, I never knew Pandora streamed sports. I looked but I couldn't find any mention of it. How do I find live broadcasts of Steelers and Pens games?
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post #21 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

HD radio does not stand for high definition. this isn't like hd tv at all.

It is only a trademark by iBiquity for their proprietary digital audio + multiple program streams + analog signal, all on the same frequency technology. They branded it as HD Radio - I'm sure to try and tie into the High-Def TV consumer meme. And while some claim it means "high definition" or "hybrid digital", it in fact doesn't.

HOWEVER, since it is an FCC accepted transmission standard, it is a broadcast technology standard - and therefore JUST LIKE HD TV.

There you've been informed several different ways on this - got it?

post #22 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

Just get Pandora and you can tune to hundreds of stations even foreign.

Internet streaming is the future. Not some legacy way of distributing signal with content over the air. That includes TV broadcast.

I agree streaming is the future. The issue is that Pandora is only available in one country. There's other apps like Fstream which are great for general streaming radio, but there is still a whole bunch of legacy licensing issues which get in the way of Pandora and Spotify really looking like they're making the future. The interests of many still want to segment the world up to suit their interests.
post #23 of 74
This is off-post. Thank you Kasper for fixing the iPhone mobile site. It's much improved. However, when clicking "comments" the page broke, so it's affecting every article. Will you please fix it? Thanks again!
post #24 of 74
Why would Apple include HD Radio, which has expensive royalty fees and basically doesn't even work. Is Jobs going to become part of the HD Radio scam, and was he given a piece of iBiquity exquity for potentially including HD Radio. The battery drain of HD Radio will eat Apple products alive. Analog FM, as included in the Nano, also has the tagging feature. There would be no advantages of including HD Radio.

http://hdradiofarce.blogspot.com
post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketRadio View Post

Why would Apple include HD Radio, which has expensive royalty fees and basically doesn't even work...

1. Maybe you should define what you mean by "basically doesn't even work", otherwise you may be accused of being basically wrong.

2. There are no "expensive royalty fees" for receivers of HD broadcasts.

If you don't like HD radio for some reasoned reason, it would make sense to correctly explain that, but it won't serve your purpose to write stuff like the above which is either simply mistaken or misleading. Either way, it's a miss.
post #26 of 74
Little known fact: 3G iPhones and 2,3G iPod touches already have an FM tuner; the OS just doesn't use it.
post #27 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The addition of an HD Radio receiver to future handheld devices from Apple could allow users the ability to scan and search through live radio content without having to channel flip....

I just think it's a shame that iBiquity is allowed to use the "HD" moniker, when most of the stations they carry are AM junk. An actual FM radio will get you more stations in more areas, and more of those stations will be of higher quality than iBiquity's "HD Radio." "HD Radio" (iBiquity's), doesn't even work outside of the USA.

Also, the number of folks that think that "HD Radio" means the radio is in some kind of high definition quality is ridiculous. It's blatantly misleading advertising IMO.
post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A new patent application from Apple this week centers around HD Radio, a trademarked wireless radio format owned by iBiquity, which allows both AM and FM radio stations to simulcast digital and analog audio within the same channel. The application suggests that future handsets from Apple, such as the iPod or iPhone, could embrace HD Radio technology to allow users greater flexibility when listening to broadcast media.

Does anyone know how this works? Attaching a digital stream to an FM carrier is pretty straightforwards, but I'd be interested to understand how they manage that with AM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

It will be cool if Apple does it, but when MS did it with the Zune HD, the response here was largely negative, with a lot of people even calling it pointless.

Ah, the ongoing hypocrisy of Apple Insider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

Just get Pandora and you can tune to hundreds of stations even foreign.

Internet streaming is the future. Not some legacy way of distributing signal with content over the air. That includes TV broadcast.

I agree that internet streaming is the future, but whilst we wait for the future to arrive, I think a radio tuner in the iPhone would be nice. There are a lot of locations around where I live that we can't get data over the GSM network, but the car radio picks up FM stations fine.
post #29 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreytgilbert View Post

HD radio does not stand for high definition. this isn't like hd tv at all.

You might want to check your facts on that!
post #30 of 74
Actually, HD radio is a failing technology.

Over the past year AM HD stations have begun turning OFF the signal, first at night, then during the daytime. The AM HD system creates terrible interference on the AM broadcast band.

The FM HD system has been marginally more successful. However, listeners (those few who have actually purchased the expensive equipment needed) are finding nothing but duplicates of the same FM programming on the HD-1 channels, and mediocre jukeboxes on the HD-2 and HD-3 channels. The sole exception to this are the NPR stations that have managed to put some excellent alternative programming on their -2 and -3 streams.

The main problem for HDRadio so far is that it is NOT "HD", meaning "high definition" in any sense. In fact, the argument is being made that a clean analog signal usually sounds better than any HD signal. The company that controls HD Radio, Ibiquity, is charging stations very high license fees to use the equipment. One reason that you don't see many HD radios in the stores is that Ibiquity license fees make receivers expensive as well. In fact, before the recent portable released by Best Buy, the low price point for HD radio was $100.

There are many other objections to the system, all of which can be researched by a quick Google search of HD RADIO PROBLEMS. Before Apple spends a single centavo on any of this technology, or before any Apple customer does the same, they need to take a long, hard, look at Ibiquity's track record and decide if this product is worth the trouble...and if Ibiquity is a company that Apple should take on as a partner.

The chief engineers, sales managers, and general managers of hundreds of radio stations across the U.S. would say ... no ... to both of those questions.

The Chief Engineer of our local NPR affiliate told me "We're going to have digital radio...but it won't be THIS digital radio."
post #31 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, yes, but with carriers capping bandwidth, Pandora could be an expensive proposition if you aren't on WiFi. Admittedly, you have access to more options with Pandora, but you won't burn through your 3G data cap with HD radio. And, as for "over the air", well, think about that. Everything seems to be moving to "over the air". And, especially since you've expressed a preference for not having to pay for content, one would think you would be a fan of "over the air".

(Obviously, I'm mixing meanings of "over the air" above. It's intentional.)

HD Radio is not broadcast over 3G. Neither Apple or ATT would have any control over the usage, it's just like having a portable radio. You pay for the radio, not the service. I think too many people are getting this confused with satellite radio which is a pay service.
post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by rg_spb View Post

HD Radio is not broadcast over 3G. Neither Apple or ATT would have any control over the usage, it's just like having a portable radio. You pay for the radio, not the service. I think too many people are getting this confused with satellite radio which is a pay service.

What I don't want to see is an actual HD receiver built into any Apple product. IF we're just talking about audio streams, fine. But in addition to the objections I posted in my previous message, HD tends to eat up a LOT of power from its device, meaning even more issues with battery life than we now have.

Apple needs to stay far, far, away from any kind of Ibiquity-licensed HD radio recevier.
post #33 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by rg_spb View Post

You might want to check your facts on that!

At one time, the "HD" was said to have stood for "hybrid digital" meaning that it could coexist with an analog carrier on the same frequency. It has never, ever, stood for the words "High Definition", though some of the proponents have made that claim.

Go to their site: www.hdradio.com , nowhere will you find the words "High Definition".
post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by donlphi View Post

Why use a radio when you can stream it?

Remember that (new) 200MB limit?
post #35 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by rg_spb View Post

HD Radio is not broadcast over 3G. ...

No, no one said it was.
post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

1. Maybe you should define what you mean by "basically doesn't even work", otherwise you may be accused of being basically wrong.

2. There are no "expensive royalty fees" for receivers of HD broadcasts.

If you don't like HD radio for some reasoned reason, it would make sense to correctly explain that, but it won't serve your purpose to write stuff like the above which is either simply mistaken or misleading. Either way, it's a miss.

1. If you have ever used a HD radio receiver, you will understand that outside antennas are needed for proper reception of all stations. The receivers themselves eat up a LOT of power. The HD signals themselves are weak compared to the analog signals. Have you auditioned the only inexpensive HD radio? It's marketed under the Insignia brand by Best Buy. It is $50. That's cheap for a HD radio. When you use this radio, you will find that the HD signals drop out repeatedly as you move around a room, and as you move from one place to another outside.

I would say that the above puts it in the category of being inferior to the existing analog FM transmission system. If someone wants to say that qualifies as "doesn't even work" then the people who have returned HD receivers would most certainly agree.

2. If there are no expensive royalty fees, then why do all radios, except for two, cost more than $100? Please allow me to quote from the Wiki on HD Radio:

Quote:
High costs

The costs of installing the system, including fees, vary from station to station, according to the station's size and existing infrastructure. Typical costs are at least several tens of thousands of dollars at the outset (including transmitter, diplexer or antenna/feedline, and labor), plus per-channel annual fees to be paid to iBiquity. Large companies in larger media markets (such as Clear Channel or Citadel Broadcasting) can afford to implement the technology for their stations. However, community radio stations, both commercial and noncommercial, cannot.

Current HD Radio receivers cost anywhere from around $50 to several hundred dollars (US), compared to regular FM radios which can even be found at dollar stores. By contrast, all of the R&D work for DAB (and much of DAB+) had already been done using an existing codec, and requires no licensing fees. FMeXtra is even less expensive, and requires no installation labor or cost for the broadcaster, other than plugging it into the transmitter. It also requires no FCC approval, coming under a station's subsidiary communications authority. FMeXtra requires no license fees, and does not interfere with adjacent channels. Other digital broadcast technologies have not been approved for use in the United States.

Once again....this is NOT a technology that suits Apple, or its customers.

The Wiki is actually a good, unbiased, source of information, both positive and negative. While I myself am obviously an opponent of the system, the Wiki will give you a balanced picture of the plusses and minuses. It can be found at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_Radio
post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciekskontakt View Post

Just get Pandora and you can tune to hundreds of stations even foreign.

Internet streaming is the future. Not some legacy way of distributing signal with content over the air. That includes TV broadcast.

Pandora is only available in the US, which is a real pity!
post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

1. Maybe you should define what you mean by "basically doesn't even work", otherwise you may be accused of being basically wrong.

2. There are no "expensive royalty fees" for receivers of HD broadcasts.

If you don't like HD radio for some reasoned reason, it would make sense to correctly explain that, but it won't serve your purpose to write stuff like the above which is either simply mistaken or misleading. Either way, it's a miss.

There are royalty fees paid - by the company who adds the receiver (in this case Apple). I'd prefer they didn't add HD radio, and used the royalty fee for something more useful - even regular FM.

In Europe they have a different system of digital radio (incompatible with Ibiquity's HD Radio), and I've heard it's much better. Anyone know for sure?
post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

There are royalty fees paid - by the company who adds the receiver (in this case Apple). I'd prefer they didn't add HD radio, and used the royalty fee for something more useful - even regular FM.

In Europe they have a different system of digital radio (incompatible with Ibiquity's HD Radio), and I've heard it's much better. Anyone know for sure?

I've used DAB in the UK. While it does have a nice sound, it has not been the big time product in sales that proponents predicted. However, it does have a large advantage over HD-Radio in that it has its own separate frequency band. Here in the U.S. the FCC allowed iBiquity to slap this new carrier on top of existing signals, causing interference. Since in the UK it has its own set of new frequencies, normal analog broadcasts are not distorted as they are here in the U.S.
post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Nassour View Post

1. If you have ever used a HD radio receiver, you will understand that outside antennas are needed for proper reception of all stations. The receivers themselves eat up a LOT of power. The HD signals themselves are weak compared to the analog signals. Have you auditioned the only inexpensive HD radio? It's marketed under the Insignia brand by Best Buy. It is $50. That's cheap for a HD radio. When you use this radio, you will find that the HD signals drop out repeatedly as you move around a room, and as you move from one place to another outside.

I would say that the above puts it in the category of being inferior to the existing analog FM transmission system. If someone wants to say that qualifies as "doesn't even work" then the people who have returned HD receivers would most certainly agree.

This would seem to be a valid criticism of the technology, much better than "basically doesn't work" when the experience of most people with any exposure would be that it "basically works".

Quote:
2. If there are no expensive royalty fees, then why do all radios, except for two, cost more than $100?

By receivers, I actually meant the person, not the device.



However, it does seem a bit unlikely that Apple would incorporate HD radio into an iPhone, mainly because it doesn't seem to be widely used outside the US, unless the brief research I did on that is mistaken.
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