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Apple aiming to build FM/TV add-ons for handhelds?

updated 01:40 pm EDT, Thu July 31, 2008

Apple FM/TV receiver?

Apple may be looking to build or support new add-ons capable of streaming radio and/or TV to its handhelds, a new patent application suggests. The device would attach directly to a handheld such as an iPhone or iPod, and pick up signals from one or more formats including AM, FM, HD or satellite radio, or TV standards such as cable, satellite, over-the-air or IPTV. More conventional reception means could include Wi-Fi, cellular or Ethernet.

Add-ons could take several forms, such as a simple portable plug-in, or else more elaborate options like a dock, stereo or a full-blown computer. The key Apple invention is the concept of a "tag" button, which would let people pull down metadata on whatever they're receiving, such as the artist and track for a song, or the episode, actor and director information for a TV show. In some instances the information could be location-based, through some form of GPS support.

By syncing tags with a handheld, the notion is that an add-on could then produce information usable elsewhere, such as shopping at an online store like iTunes, or generating a personalized webpage. It is suggested however that the technology may also be used receiving things like maps and restaurant menus, and serving advertisers, who could exploit tagging to deliver customized marketing.

Apple's hardware concept bears some resemblance to an upcoming PacketVideo product called the PV, which should be able to attach to the iPhone and iPod touch to deliver TV by converting WiMAX TV broadcasts into regular Wi-Fi signals.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Doesn't Sony already

    have this sort of technology for PSPs. Not exactly sure why anyone would want dongles hanging off their iPod, but I'm curious as to how well the TV tuners would work. I happen to see this as another way to drain the already taxed batteries, but what the hey. Nobody said these things have to be practical to use.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    HD Radio iTunes Tagging?

    That sounds like HD Radio's iTunes Tagging that came out last year, though the patent may have been filed before and it was just published now.

    When you hear a song you like in the car push a button and since your iPod already connects to your car's radio, it stores information on the iPod to tell iTunes what song you liked and asks if you want to buy it if it is available...

    And who said the connection had to be a cable, what about wireless, especially with the iPhone and iPod Touch and possibly future models supporting wireless technologies...

  1. bogmonster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Never understood...

    ...why an FM receiver was never part of the ipods to begin with. Seems fairly common among other devices, and I know the missus likes to get her dose of CBC when she's out for a run.

    Would it have thrown off the case design that much?

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