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Apple's next-gen iPhone may add radio tagging, Nike Sport Kit

post #1 of 39
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A new version of Apple's iTunes software released Monday includes code strings that hint at a couple of new features likely to make their debut alongside new iPhone models this month, namely radio tagging capabilities and support for the Nike+ Sport Kit.

With the release of the iPhone 3.0 Software expected around WWDC next week, iTunes 8.2 was released to specifically support this new firmware. Upon close inspection of the iTunes 8.2 package, AppleInsider reader Will discovered strings that point to radio capabilities along with a corresponding ability to tag songs so that they can later be purchased from the iTunes store. These references are not visible in the same files distributed with iTunes 8.1.

While the references aren't tied specifically to the iPhone, the possibility of an FM radio in next-gen models gained a bit of support from references in early iPhone 3.0 software betas to a new Broadcom chip that would enable lower-power 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to send and receive FM radio transmissions. For years, Apple has forgone the inclusion of built-in radio tuners in its handheld products, which initially led us to discount the prospect that the company would leverage the FM capabilities of the Broadcom chip for Radio functions in its new iPhones.

Since then, however, a Chinese insider with alleged ties to employees at Apple's Taiwanese manufacturing facilities filed a report on a popular mobile forum that contained a list of specifications for one of Apple's new iPhone models. Among them were a 600MHz Samsung ARM processor, digital compass, and FM tuner. Given that some of those claims have been backed up by others in the know, an argument can be made that built-in radio capabilities no longer seem unlikely.

It should be noted, however, that these references could instead mean support for a software-based radio remote application that would allow iPhones or iPods to identify names of songs when the handhelds are plugged into an accessory with FM radio hardware. They could also be nothing more than references to new capabilities of iTunes' built-in internet radio feature.

The strings in iTunes 8.2 show references to a determining station names and frequency, seeming to indicate some digital radio capability. Whether this is simple FM radio with RDS capability or actual digital radio is unclear. The Apple iPod Radio Remote accessory, compatible with the iPod nano, Classic, and video models, is capable of receiving RDS signals to display artist and title information.





When it comes to Nike+, a separate wireless receiver is required to use the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit with an iPod, except for the 2nd-generation iPod Touch, which has a built-in receiver. The receiver picks up transmissions from a wireless sensor placed in a shoe to track data on distance and speed, which is then logged and displayed by the iPod. This kit has not been supported by any iPhone model to date, though it is a popular feature request among iPhone owners.

Unlike the iPod Touch that does not need to deal with incoming phone calls, running a Nike+ app on the iPhone will require the ability to handle incoming calls without interrupting the tracking of work-out data. A workable implementation for the iPhone would enable the Nike+ app to essentially run in the background if a call is received during a workout. Despite Nike+ being a third-party product, AppleInsider has been told that Apple actually handles a large portion of Nike+ application development for its multi-touch products, making these tweaks possible.



Also remaining in iTunes 8.2 are strings that first appeared in earlier versions of the media cataloging software that point to the storage of voice memos from Apple's new Voice Memos application that will be included in the 3.0 software, the ability to use free space on the iPhone as portable storage -- known as "disk use" in relation to iPods -- as well as to the direct download of movies to the iPhone without the need to sync them over from a computer. This last feature surfaced in screenshots just a few days ago showing mobile ads within an iPhone app signaling on-device video downloads from the mobile iTunes Store. The significance of the former references, and whether they're there to support upcoming features, remains unclear.

Additionally, pointers to VoiceOver, a feature most recently displayed in the latest iPod Shuffle model, also made an appearance in iTunes 8.1. In 8.2, an additional string shows the ability to change VoiceOver settings to manage aspects of the Nike+ application.

Despite describing over 100 new features in the iPhone Software 3.0 when it was first announced, these latest findings suggest Apple may have a few more tricks up its sleeve.
post #2 of 39
Having looked at radio feeds in iTunes I always thought: why the hell wasn't that possible to sync them onto iPhone??

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post #3 of 39
I wouldn't care much if they don't add the ability to listen to radio directly on the iPhone, but I really would like to see an FM transmitter built in. At the same time, Apple values the third-party accessory ecosystem that has been created around the iPod and iPhone products, and that would probably devastate sales of FM transmitters, even if it only affects new iPhones and iPod touches.

Looking forward to what exciting things Apple has in store at WWDC!
post #4 of 39
The Voice Memos sync back to iTunes when you connect your iDevice. Oddly, they record in Apple Lossless. I personally have no problem with this, but I’d think that they’d at least offer an option for AAC at a couple bitrates. If I’m recording my voice 64kbps is more than sufficient for spoken word.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmadlena View Post

I wouldn't care much if they don't add the ability to listen to radio directly on the iPhone, but I really would like to see an FM transmitter built in. At the same time, Apple values the third-party accessory ecosystem that has been created around the iPod and iPhone products, and that would probably devastate sales of FM transmitters, even if it only affects new iPhones and iPod touches.

Looking forward to what exciting things Apple has in store at WWDC!

I would think that Apple not only would like to keep those accessory makers, but also wouldn’t want to make the crappy FM transmitter a long term standard in lieu of the better direct-connect solutions for car systems.

The FM receiver seems a bit far fetched to me, even if it is digital radio. Like many of the chipsets they use Apple doesn’t utilize all the HW features. At this stage going with an FM receiver is just silly and may hurt their other revenue stream.
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post #5 of 39
Just another thing to drain the battery even faster. God forbid you need an actual phone call.
post #6 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

The Voice Memos sync back to iTunes when you connect your iDevice. Oddly, they record in Apple Lossless. I personally have no problem with this, but Id think that theyd at least offer an option for AAC at a couple bitrates. If Im recording my voice 64kbps is more than sufficient for spoken word.



I would think that Apple not only would like to keep those accessory makers, but also wouldnt want to make the crappy FM transmitter a long term standard in lieu of the better direct-connect solutions for car systems.

The FM receiver seems a bit far fetched to me, even if it is digital radio. I believe the rumour first appeared when a potential WiFi chip Apple could use had the FM Rx/Tx built in, but like many of the chipsets they use they dont utilize all the features. At this stage going with an FM receiver is just silly and may hurt their other revenue stream.

You have to remember that Apple uses software to sell hardware. This includes things like music, movies, and apps. Apple doesn't gain a huge amount of profit from that stuff, but it does get more people "locked in" to Apple products so that they will continue using them.
post #7 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

You have to remember that Apple uses software to sell hardware. This includes things like music, movies, and apps. Apple doesn't gain a huge amount of profit from that stuff, but it does get more people "locked in" to Apple products so that they will continue using them.

True, but they sell a ecosystem and refined software features over an over-abundance of SW features, like other PMPs and smartphone competitors do. For this reason, Im wagering that Apple will not offer an FM radio player option, though I wouldnt mind being wrong.
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post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Just another thing to drain the battery even faster. God forbid you need an actual phone call.

You make Phone calls with yours?
post #9 of 39
i almost fed the troll....almost.
post #10 of 39
regret Apple's wasting square inches of iPhone logic board in the whim to become just like what cheap Sony-Ericsson phones are...
Why not to design damn usb tuner, if someone needs it so desperate?

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #11 of 39
why does a station listing have to mean FM receiver? why not just like iTunes and have streaming audio over WiFi or even 3G?

Then again I guess you would not need a frequency setting for that.
post #12 of 39
There's also a string for iPhone disk use...

"4320.076" = "Enabling the iPhone for disk use requires manually ejecting the iPhone before each disconnect, even when automatically syncing music.";
"4320.077" = "Enabling the iPhone for disk use requires manually ejecting the iPhone before each disconnect.";
post #13 of 39
Seriously though I'm not sure what the negativity over FM is. It means one less item to carry and keep track of while traveling about. FM is great for getting local flavor too. So here I'm really hoping this is true and hope it is a sign that Apple will roll other tech into iPhone. Shortwave radio anybody?

Voice notes could be very handy if I could get use to hearing my voice. For something like iPhone it is almost a basic requirement.


Dave
post #14 of 39
Radio Tagging is a feature already implemented on some iPod when used with iPod docks with radio facilities.

http://www.hdradio.com/iTunes_Tagging/
post #15 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

why does a station listing have to mean FM receiver? why not just like iTunes and have streaming audio over WiFi or even 3G?

Then again I guess you would not need a frequency setting for that.

There's huge pile of iPhone apps, which are supposed to stream radio over 3G/WiFi. None of those worked actually in my experience. The playback just stalls without visible reason. This is weird, because everyone streams now video with no problem at all.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #16 of 39
iphone has gps, can do so much more with it, so why support old nike+ which only counts footfalls?
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

why does a station listing have to mean FM receiver? why not just like iTunes and have streaming audio over WiFi or even 3G?

Then again I guess you would not need a frequency setting for that.

It doesnt mean FM radio, but as the article states there is evidence that a chip used has built in HW support for it. I think having internet radio streaming would be great, even over the carriers network.


Quote:
Originally Posted by turkeytaken View Post

There's also a string for iPhone disk use...

"4320.076" = "Enabling the iPhone for disk use requires manually ejecting the iPhone before each disconnect, even when automatically syncing music.";
"4320.077" = "Enabling the iPhone for disk use requires manually ejecting the iPhone before each disconnect.";

That rocks! Its about time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Voice notes could be very handy if I could get use to hearing my voice. For something like iPhone it is almost a basic requirement.

Im sure you are not alone. Someone should write an app that alters the voice of your saved voice memos.
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post #18 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by jah50 View Post

iphone has gps, can do so much more with it, so why support old nike+ which only counts footfalls?

Maybe because GPS doesn't work so well when you are running on a treadmill...
post #19 of 39
At the very least, because of the new external accessory APIs, perhaps the iPhone/iPod Touch will gain the ability of using the FM Remote again. They probably didn't have compatibility before because the APis weren't in place to talk to an external device.
post #20 of 39
I don't understand the fascination with an FM tuner. I loathe both FM and AM radio. That's why I have XM. I'm looking forward to whatever app they come out with soon.
post #21 of 39
Whether some people don't understand why some want radio or not on their device, I WANT it and I'm not the only one. If it can be done and done well, then do it. There are many times when I wish I could listen to my favourite morning show while on the bus or listen to my top 5 at 5 on my local FM station. I don't always want to listen to my own iPod library or to podcasts etc. Surely, the technology is available (or will be soon) to do this. If you don't like the option of being able to listen to radio on your device, then don't use it. There are some functions on my current phone that I don't use and never would. The more things the device can do (and do well and efficiently of course), then the better in my opinion.
post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac31 View Post

I don't understand the fascination with an FM tuner. I loathe both FM and AM radio. That's why I have XM. I'm looking forward to whatever app they come out with soon.

i don't think its about "listening" to fm, its about connectivity, as fm transmitter, and finding music on itunes to purchase.
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post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadan View Post

Whether some people don't understand why some want radio or not on their device, I WANT it and I'm not the only one. If it can be done and done well, then do it. There are many times when I wish I could listen to my favourite morning show while on the bus or listen to my top 5 at 5 on my local FM station. I don't always want to listen to my own iPod library or to podcasts etc. Surely, the technology is available (or will be soon) to do this. If you don't like the option of being able to listen to radio on your device, then don't use it. There are some functions on my current phone that I don't use and never would. The more things the device can do (and do well and efficiently of course), then the better in my opinion.

have you tried fstream, i love it for talk radio, and syndicated music radio, there are ways of listening to radio via iphone and internet several apps are available you have to search for your station i listen to most from philly
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post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

You make Phone calls with yours?

So true. In the month that I've owned an iPod touch I think I've listened to music on it twice. Safari and UniWar on the other hand...
post #25 of 39
My main thing is I hate talk radio. I can't stand sitting there listening to other people constantly spewing their opinions. Even though I may agree with a particular person's topics or ideas, I still don't want to listen to them. It's a headache. Plus commercials are getting more and more obnoxious these days.

If there was a tuner, I am aware I could simply ignore it. But that still doesn't mean I feel there's a need for it. Most of the people I know don't listen to FM anyway.

I still find it unnecessary. But that's just me.
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Just another thing to drain the battery even faster. God forbid you need an actual phone call.

That's what my BluePack is for!

"TRAVEL is Fatal to Prejudice,Bigotry,Narrowmindedness"mt

TRY IT!

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post #27 of 39
does anyone know about the possibly of this supporting HD radio? Would that be a software thing, or is different hardware required?
post #28 of 39
Is the Fm Radio going to be a regular one or HD radio? For me this is a big feature .
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

regret Apple's wasting square inches of iPhone logic board in the whim to become just like what cheap Sony-Ericsson phones are...
Why not to design damn usb tuner, if someone needs it so desperate?

Everyone always seems to forget that Apple has sold an FM tuner accessory for iPods for a number of years. It plugs into the dock connector on 5th generation and classic full size iPods and every generation of nano, too. It's still available for sale. And it includes the ability to display the RDS data feeds, which would include the artist and track name info you would need to "tag" the song for later purchase.

So all this hoopla about code in the software to receive FM radio and tag songs could simply mean Apple is finally making the iPhone/touch compatible with an accessory that has been around for years.

Congratulations, your iPhone has finally caught up to my 3-year old iPod. Ok, so I can't tag songs, big deal.

http://store.apple.com/us/product/MA...mco=NDcwMzE1Mg
post #30 of 39
Seriously...how do these people figure this stuff out!!! It's amazing! and I love it
post #31 of 39
I use NPR, AOL Radio, Yahoo Music, and Pandora. As long as their is no interuption in the signal they all work perfectly fine in my experince. You can also stream all audio podcasts from iTunes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

There's huge pile of iPhone apps, which are supposed to stream radio over 3G/WiFi. None of those worked actually in my experience. The playback just stalls without visible reason. This is weird, because everyone streams now video with no problem at all.
post #32 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I use NPR, AOL Radio, Yahoo Music, and Pandora. As long as their is no interuption in the signal they all work perfectly fine in my experince. You can also stream all audio podcasts from iTunes.

I was somewhat puzzled about it, too. I tried Orange Live Radio, allRadio, something else... They all misbehaved similar. 30 sec of playback, then hopeless stall.
I gave it up and declared radio feature being of no interest for me.

We have very slow 3G (2.9G, in fact) network, but the coverage is far better, than in States. Maybe, I failed because of that. Yet video streaming (Youtube, Orange TV, MTV, France 24, etc - there're lots of them) works like a charm.

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post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Congratulations, your iPhone has finally caught up to my 3-year old iPod. Ok, so I can't tag songs, big deal.

Thank you. Mostly, for more hope for they will abandon that chinese idea to implant FM chip directly in iPhone.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #34 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

regret Apple's wasting square inches of iPhone logic board in the whim to become just like what cheap Sony-Ericsson phones are...

The flaw in that argument is that, if rumours are correct, they will actually be reducing their PCB space usage (using a single-chip solution to simplify integration of 802.11n, while at the same time combining bluetooth support in the same package), and they'd be getting the hardware capable of FM tuning and/or transmitting as a side-effect.

Whether or not they choose to activate that hardware, on the other hand, is another story entirely.
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

The flaw in that argument is that, if rumours are correct, they will actually be reducing their PCB space usage (using a single-chip solution to simplify integration of 802.11n, while at the same time combining bluetooth support in the same package), and they'd be getting the hardware capable of FM tuning and/or transmitting as a side-effect.

Whether or not they choose to activate that hardware, on the other hand, is another story entirely.

Ummm... Rumors are neither chip specifications, nor iPhone parts nomenclature. Time will tell.
Someone will post the picture of new iPhone's board and chipset. I will compare them with 3G's ones and then will come back onto this argument.

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People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #36 of 39
My guess would be some type of software problem. I've streamed audio using EDGE with no problem. At least as long as the signal doesn't drop.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

I was somewhat puzzled about it, too. I tried Orange Live Radio, allRadio, something else... They all misbehaved similar. 30 sec of playback, then hopeless stall.
I gave it up and declared radio feature being of no interest for me.

We have very slow 3G (2.9G, in fact) network, but the coverage is far better, than in States. Maybe, I failed because of that. Yet video streaming (Youtube, Orange TV, MTV, France 24, etc - there're lots of them) works like a charm.
post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

My guess would be some type of software problem. I've streamed audio using EDGE with no problem. At least as long as the signal doesn't drop.

I don't think so. All applications from all vendors hang in absolutely similar manner. Which suggests rather network problems. What confuses me is video, which should in all evidence be far more consuming, streams without any problem at all. Surely, with its audio track.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Ummm... Rumors are neither chip specifications, nor iPhone parts nomenclature. Time will tell.
Someone will post the picture of new iPhone's board and chipset. I will compare them with 3G's ones and then will come back onto this argument.

There is at least some substance to the rumours though. The article we're all commenting on contains a link to a previous article, in which it was revealed that the iPhone OS 3.0 betas contained support for a new 802.11n Broadcom WiFi chip - BCM4329. This single-chip solution does, indeed, incorporate WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM receiver/transmitter in one package.

As an embedded OS running on a strictly controlled list of platforms, Apple's engineers would have no reason to incorporate support for any particular chipset unless they actually had some reason to suspect that they would actually end up using that chipset.

Mind you, the 2G iPod Touch has already incorporated a predecessor of this chip, the Broadcom BCM4325 802.11g WiFi chip, which also incorporated Bluetooth and an FM receiver, but Apple has chosen not to take advantage of the FM receiver on that chip either.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

There is at least some substance to the rumours though. The article we're all commenting on contains a link to a previous article, in which it was revealed that the iPhone OS 3.0 betas contained support for a new 802.11n Broadcom WiFi chip - BCM4329. This single-chip solution does, indeed, incorporate WiFi, Bluetooth, and FM receiver/transmitter in one package.

As an embedded OS running on a strictly controlled list of platforms, Apple's engineers would have no reason to incorporate support for any particular chipset unless they actually had some reason to suspect that they would actually end up using that chipset.

Mind you, the 2G iPod Touch has already incorporated a predecessor of this chip, the Broadcom BCM4325 802.11g WiFi chip, which also incorporated Bluetooth and an FM receiver, but Apple has chosen not to take advantage of the FM receiver on that chip either.

iPhone 3G's WiFi chip is BCM4325, too. They seem different only in 802.11n compliance (plus possible optimizations).



So, let me rephrase what I said before. I would regret any Apple's effort -- either hardware (say, to connect antenna to FM input of the chip or to handle its FM output) or software -- to load iPhone with decade old technology.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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