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FCC Urges Apple to Enable FM Chip in iPhone: 'Lives Depend on It'

FCC Urges Apple to Enable FM Chip in iPhone: 'Lives Depend on It'

Posted September 28, 2017 at 5:31pm by iClarified
The FCC is calling out Apple for refusing to activate the FM radio capabilities in the iPhone in light of the recent devastation caused by Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey.

Chairman Ajit Pai released the following statement today:

“In recent years, I have repeatedly called on the wireless industry to activate the FM chips that are already installed in almost all smartphones sold in the United States.  And I’ve specifically pointed out the public safety benefits of doing so.  In fact, in my first public speech after I became Chairman, I observed that ‘[y]ou could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone.’  When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information.  I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones.

“Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so.  But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones.  It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.  As the Sun Sentinel of South Florida put it, ‘Do the right thing, Mr. Cook.  Flip the switch.  Lives depend on it.’”

Do think Apple should activate the FM chip found in the iPhone?

Let us know in the comments!

FCC Urges Apple to Enable FM Chip in iPhone: 'Lives Depend on It'

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Comments (44)
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Raouf - October 1, 2017 at 2:23pm
I don’t think there is a major issue for apple to do not activate FM, this action will step up apple shares in the market. However, it’ll will cover all the American people and make America safe again.
Tjp - October 1, 2017 at 6:49am
More news rom Puerto Rico. The FM stations are all down. The FCC shutdown the repeaters stations for the sole working AM station in March. so ... Apple can't magically add hardware that doesn't exist, and where iPhones have FM capable chips, they don't have the amplifier or antenna needed to enable FM reception. The FCC honcho wants FM radios enabled on phones during the emergency! Where no FM stations are working. The FCC administratively handcuffed the range of the sole remaining AM station back in March. So ... The FCC is missing it's reality gap filler.
Bill - September 30, 2017 at 8:34pm
Can you update this article with apple’s response?
waheb09 - September 30, 2017 at 10:41am
I think a simple jailbreak tweak could solve the problem
Ps312 - September 30, 2017 at 3:43am
Bill - September 30, 2017 at 11:20pm
There is no FM chip
mr.humann2 - September 30, 2017 at 2:09am
I'm not any sort of expert on the FM chip that's "already in there" but I'm guessing it's the (usually Qualcomm?) radio that uses FM superband frequencies to talk to the cell towers? My guess is that it's a highly specialized transponder chip and with each iteration they add a few new frequencies as the carriers upgrade and change how their towers broadcast and recieve. I'd love to hear from an electrical engineer (like they'd come to this generally very childish forum, lol) about just how trivial or non-trivial it would be to make these chips recieve normal lower frequency FM broadcasts. I simply doubt the implication that it's just something Apple can "turn on".
justabrake - September 30, 2017 at 12:17am
Maybe cook can’t see why he should activate it he’s never been caught without electricity you would appreciate news from the outside
Tdffeed - September 29, 2017 at 6:36pm
They will never activate it because their music service subscribers will listen to the local radio isntead of paying for Apple Music
Timmy boy
Timmy boy - September 29, 2017 at 6:00pm
Fm radio will be in iphone 9, apple will claim it has just "reinvented the wheel" again. Apple fan boys will camp out for days to buy it
no_ma'am - September 30, 2017 at 8:19am
Lol. So true.
Tjp - October 1, 2017 at 6:53am
Apple used to have FM radio capable devices and wrote apps for them. And they sold, later, an FM radio enabled headset. Well, they offered for sale would be more like it. They didn't sell. So current hardware isn't FM-able so nothing to turn on.
Ainokea - September 29, 2017 at 6:19am
There are no FM chips in Apple iPhone 7and above. So no way for Apple to "turn a switch". For iPhone 6 and below, while they may have FM chips, research indicates that they aren't actually connected to anything and not able to be "switched on" either. Both facts that the FCC already knows. Don't fall for the BS and be lead down false paths by government trying to distract from their own shortcomings. Stay woke peeps!! Stay woke!!
Jcall - September 29, 2017 at 5:00am
Agree for activating FM and AM
Bigpink - September 29, 2017 at 3:20am
If it’s true that you can just activate the hardware and do a software update to utilize, then i believe Apple should do. At a recent f1 event I wished I had a radio so I can listen without bringing a separate device. Also i believe radio is low power I don’t think that will be the issue. Have you guys heard of an app called Fire Chat? It’s suppose to use the Bluetooth to create a data free chat. Of course the limitation would be the Bluetooth range but as long as people are within each other range then it can extend even farther. I haven’t used it in awhile so I’m not sure if it’s plausible. I believe the idea was to use this in stadiums and concerts where the local cell tower is overloaded and you needed an emergency way to communicate with your party. Would be cool also if Facebook steps up and makes a temporary internet connection by deploying some kind of balloon. I believe they were working on that.
Tjp - September 28, 2017 at 10:48pm
Well, that would also require an antenna connected to the chip to get a signal, and not all the models have FM capable chips in them. additionally they'd need to create a system framework for the radio, create an update, test the update, and distribute the update. Instead of FM, use the existing cell towers (multiple cell towers at lower heights might survive better than FM stations that have huge antennas) and distribute emergency SMS messages. The government can already do this. And just use the weather and amber alert infrastructure already in place. And you'll cover all SMS capable phones not just iPhones. No cell infrastructure left? Airlift it in. With _extremely_ slight modifications the Stingrays used for surveillance could be used as emergency cell towers. And as they don't need to carry normal calls they don't even need to see each other. The canned SMS broadcast can be transmitted repeatedly and you're likely to stumble across it.
Stealther - September 28, 2017 at 10:42pm
Whether Apple is going to do it depends on whether it will benefit them. In this case it seems not beneficial to Apple so I think they won’t do it
Frank - September 28, 2017 at 10:23pm
Why not?! Why I have to buy another fm radio device? We all already have smart phone! Who carries all the time FM radios we all always carry iPhones why not to enable it if there is possibilities iPhone already has antennas antenna can be hybrid working for two different devices simultaneously. PLEASE APPLE HEAR AS!!!
Hoges - September 28, 2017 at 10:21pm
What would be any other motive for government wanting fm radio in mobile devices?
Santiago Tejada Mirabal
Santiago Tejada Mirabal - September 28, 2017 at 10:10pm
I leave in the Caribbean in Dominican Republic to be exact , using Apple iPhone since the 3GS- I believe Apple should integrate fm in the iPhone. Is great product technology is there why not use it for the best of man kind.
Santiago Tejada Mirabal
Santiago Tejada Mirabal - September 28, 2017 at 10:10pm
I leave in the Caribbean in Dominican Republic to be exact , using Apple iPhone since the 3GS- I believe Apple should integrate fm in the iPhone. Is great product technology is there why not use it for the best of man kind.
Steve Job
Steve Job - September 28, 2017 at 7:41pm
No headphone jack, so no FM antenna, means no FM capabilities. FAKE NEWS!!
Chidiebere Nwaekpe
Chidiebere Nwaekpe - September 28, 2017 at 7:32pm
This actually crossed my mind a few days ago and i see no reason why you don't have FM on the iPhone. It doesn't make any sense. I rememeber when Blackberry and the Lumia activated theirs cuz no one knows what could happen in future and now we have such disasters going on. More reason to have the FM on a so-called smart-device.
Me - September 28, 2017 at 8:11pm
Power efficiency of a dumb AA powered radio orders of magnitude better than a smartphone. So, which device you want to depend on when there's no power?
Star - September 28, 2017 at 8:38pm
The thing about this is.. people always have their phone on them. And how do you know how good the iphones fm/am signal is like?
Tjp - September 28, 2017 at 11:01pm
Apple doesn't have the FM radio enabled (or even hooked to a frontend and antenna) because it used to do this very thing with many of its iDevices. There was no demand. There is an associated cost. So to lower costs they dropped an unwanted feature. The government should buy the factory output and stock on hand of these: Kaito SB-1059 Mini Hand Crank AM/FM Weather Radio And add small parachutes to these little guys in a simple sealed waterproof bag. Just heat seal the para-thread in. No battery needed, just crank to operate ... So when your phone is out of power you still have this. It also has a solar cell. And it's $15 on Amazon so bulk price for the government is likely only $50 ...
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