U.S. media authority FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants Apple to turn on the FM radio that’s hidden inside of every iPhone. He asked that Apple reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Apple said Pai’s request wasn’t possible for its newest phones. iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products, an Apple spokesperson said in a statement.
As Pai points out, most wireless carriers and phone manufacturers have backed down on that in recent years and offered access to FM. Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so, Pai says. It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.
But despite having no plans to mandate mobile phones activation, Pai has also said that you could make a case for activating [FM] chips on public safety grounds alone.
And that’s really what’s going on here. While cell networks may go down or be hard to reach during emergencies, traditional radio tends to be easier to receive. FM signals can travel farther than data signals, which means that radio remains the best way to distribute information during an emergency. With extreme weather events increasingly hitting the US, it becomes ever more important for people to have radio access.
All four major U.S. wireless carriers now allow phones to ship with activated FM radios; AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are even encouraging smartphone companies to activate them. The list currently includes phones from Samsung, Motorola, LG, and HTC, among others.
Read the full story in The Verge
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Also read and watch this
How your phone can turn into an FM radio during an emergency. (NBC count on)