from the you're-not-holding-it-right dept.
Apple responded today to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who issued a statement that "urged" Apple to activate the FM chips that he claimed are in iPhones in the name of public safety. The recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria were the hook for the reasoning. The only problem? Apple hasn't even included FM radio chips in iPhones since the iPhone 6s.
That's right, Pai called on Apple to activate radios that don't even exist.
As John Gruber astutely points out, the statement has the stink of trying to shift blame or attention off of the FCC's own response and readiness issues. Pai has been banging the drum for months now and it's been a talking point of the NAB for years. When ostensibly asked for comment by Bloomberg, National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton said "The notion that Apple or anyone else would block this type of information is something that we find fairly troubling." Again, the radios do not exist in iPhones and haven't for over a year now.
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Samsung says it will be unlocking the FM chips in its future smartphones:
Samsung and NextRadio on Wednesday announced the handset-maker will begin shipping phones in the US and Canada with the FM radio chip unlocked. Currently, Samsung was shipping some devices with the FM radio access unlocked, while others (often dependent upon carrier whims) had a locked FM radio chip.
An unlocked FM radio chip in a smartphone not only provides free access to local radio stations, but also, in emergency situations, access to important information.
What is NextRadio?
Emmis Communications is an American media conglomerate based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company owns radio stations and magazines in the United States and Slovakia.
[...] The NextRadio smartphone app was developed by Emmis, with support from the National Association of Broadcasters, to take advantage of mobile devices with activated internal FM receivers. NextRadio allows users of select FM-enabled smartphones to listen to live broadcast FM radio while receiving supplemental data such as album art, program information, and metadata over the internet. Launched in August 2013 through a radio industry agreement with Sprint Corporation, the app is available preloaded on select devices it is also available for download in the Google Play Store.
Do you need to use their app to access the FM chip? The press release says:
Market leaders like Samsung are taking the step of unlocking the FM Chip, which will allow Samsung users to connect directly with the NextRadio app, listen to their favorite local stations, and use less battery and less data than streaming radio apps.
Take "unlocked" with a grain of salt.