FCC chief Ajit Pai wants Apple to stop disabling FM radio chips in iPhones
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday issued a public statement requesting that Apple activate the disabled FM radio chips within its iPhones.
Pai made his appeal in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which have wreaked havoc on communities across the US and beyond in recent weeks. The FCC chief’s framed the activation of the FM radio chip as a boon to public safety, since FM radio signals are generally easier to receive in times of emergency when compared to Internet-based services provided over a cellular network.
Though it may not be obvious at first blush, most smartphones have the ability to stream local FM radio stations directly. Chipmakers like Qualcomm and Intel have long baked FM radio tuners into the chips that enable Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity in iPhones and other handsets.
In recent years, however, more and more mobile companies have started activating the chip. Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Motorola, and HTC all sell handsets with the FM tuner enabled, and the four major carriers have provided some level of support. It’s still far from ubiquitous—many higher-end phones still do not allow the functionality, and Verizon generally doesn’t sell as many FM-enabled devices as its peers—but there’s been some change.
Apple is the most prominent company to have never gotten on board, though, which explains why Pai singled the company and Apple CEO Tim Cook out on Thursday.
|FCC chief Ajit Pai wants Apple to stop disabling FM radio chips in iPhones
FCC head says Apple locking FM radio chips goes against public safety.