Apple exploring HD Radio for future iPods, iPhones

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    It does seem rather odd that there is no radio for the iPhone. I don't need it, but I am sure others disagree.
  • Reply 2 of 73
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,462member
    ^ I agree only I'd use it.



    I would so dig this and if they throw in better integration with motor vehicles - wow!
  • Reply 3 of 73
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,581member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 73
    stevetimstevetim Posts: 482member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 73
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,462member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 73
    donlphidonlphi Posts: 214member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 73
    chronsterchronster Posts: 1,894member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 73
    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).
  • Reply 9 of 73
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 73
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,581member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    @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.
  • Reply 12 of 73
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,581member
    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.)
  • Reply 13 of 73
    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
  • Reply 14 of 73
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 73
    donlphidonlphi Posts: 214member
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 73
    benicebenice Posts: 382member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 73
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    Next up: Apple re-patents the toilet seat.
  • Reply 18 of 73
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,581member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 73
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,064member
    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?
  • Reply 20 of 73
    masternavmasternav Posts: 442member
    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?



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