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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    Having looked at radio feeds in iTunes I always thought: why the hell wasn't that possible to sync them onto iPhone??
  • Reply 2 of 38
    jmadlenajmadlena Posts: 43member
    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!
  • Reply 3 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Just another thing to drain the battery even faster. God forbid you need an actual phone call.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    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 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.







    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. 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 don?t 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.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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, I?m wagering that Apple will not offer an FM radio player option, though I wouldn?t mind being wrong.
  • Reply 7 of 38
    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?
  • Reply 8 of 38
    gtl215gtl215 Posts: 242member
    i almost fed the troll....almost.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    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?

  • Reply 10 of 38
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 38
    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.";
  • Reply 12 of 38
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,893member
    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
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Radio Tagging is a feature already implemented on some iPod when used with iPod docks with radio facilities.



    http://www.hdradio.com/iTunes_Tagging/
  • Reply 14 of 38
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    jah50jah50 Posts: 1member
    iphone has gps, can do so much more with it, so why support old nike+ which only counts footfalls?
  • Reply 16 of 38
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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 doesn?t 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 carrier?s 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! It?s 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.



    I?m sure you are not alone. Someone should write an app that alters the voice of your saved voice memos.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    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...
  • Reply 18 of 38
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    mac31mac31 Posts: 44member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    canadancanadan Posts: 21member
    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.
Sign In or Register to comment.