Science

Apple's FM radio stance is 'blocking' access to emergency broadcasts

Apple's FM radio stance is 'blocking' access to emergency broadcasts

Apple said in a statement that the "iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas created to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products".

Pai said Apple is the "one major phone manufacturer" to resist turning them on in its iPhones. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria have done damage in billions in their rampages through the Caribbean and the southern United States, affecting communications in most of the affected areas. The FCC did not immediately reply to Apple's disclosure that new phones do not have the chips.

For years, the majority of smartphones sold in the US have included FM radios, but a lot of them have been turned off so that you couldn't use the function. Why? FM radios that are already included in every phone could be used to access "life-saving information" during disasters, he said.

The company added that it has "engineered modern safety solutions into our products".

Most cell towers in Puerto Rico - along with most electricity - remain out of service as the island struggles in the wake of Maria. Over-the-air radio can then step in to provide invaluable and sometimes life-saving information like weather alerts to the millions of people who cannot get online.

Republicans Abandon Health Reform Bill
Senate will not hold a vote on the latest GOP health care plan, dubbed the Graham-Cassidy bill, after not having enough yes votes. With their narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate and solid Democratic opposition, three GOP "no" votes would doom the bill.

Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, also criticized Apple in a statement to Bloomberg today.

And Pai isn't alone in his calls for Apple to enable support for FM in the iPhone.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said that Pai's actions during his tenure as chairman have been "paving the way for a massive consolidation among radio and TV broadcast stations".

Pai, a Republican, has been reluctant to mandate cellphone makers offer FM radio access. He wants the phone maker to activate the FM radio that lies dormant inside iPhones, all in the name of public safety. 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.


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