Saturday, January 17, 2015

iPhone FM Radio

One of my pet peeves with Apple's otherwise very nice iPhone is the lack of a simple FM radio. Mind you, I'm not talking about streaming media (Pandora, Rdio, etc) by the way. I mean real, old fashioned, over the air FM.

Now some children of the twenty-first century might wonder why this would be a desirable feature to have. Here's the deal, Digitally tuned FM has certain advantages over streaming media services. First and foremost, FM uses no data to operate. You can listen to it all day long, wifi or no, and use no data. It is completely free. In addition, FM radio signals will often be available even in those areas where you can't get a cellular signal (or won't because of cost, e.g. overseas). Lastly, your employer or school can't block FM the way they can with streaming media on their wifi networks. 

An outfit called Allputer  now sells an accessory called iFM. The device plugs into your iPhone, prompts you to download a tuner app and runs off the iPhone battery. Setup is very quick and the result is a very nice sounding FM radio. Your headphones serve as the antenna. 

This solution isn't as elegant as the built in FM radios that Motorola and HTC include in their phones. But, if you really just want to enjoy your favorite radio station on your iPhone, now you can. 


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