A new rumor sent to 9to5Mac suggest that Apple is working to develop a radio app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app would offer similar functionality to the radio app included in the 5th generation iPod Nano, and will run in the background similar to or as part of the iPod app. Apple is looking for a way to tie in the radio app with the Mobile iTunes Store, so users can easily see more details about the song/band and even purchase the music.
Personally, I'd like to see Apple either license the technology from Shazam or purchase the company and incorporate the technology. Shazam is currently one of my most used iPhone apps. For those of you that don't know or haven't used Shazam, the app allows you to sample a song that is playing and then get details including title, artist, and album. Shazam can then send you to YouTube for a music video or the iTunes store for purchase. I've had over a 95% success ratio with the app using it to tag music playing at home, in my car, and even some of that odd, easy listening, Indy stuff they play at Starbucks.
The radio-digital media tie-in isn't anything new. Years ago XM Radio partnered up with Napster (the legit version, and subsidiary of BestBuy) to allow you to flag music you liked, and then download it later. Of course, that required a subscription to XM Satellite Radio as well as Napster. The Apple app of course wouldn't be charging for the FM radio access, and iTunes would only charge for purchases.
How would the Apple iPhone app allow FM reception? Easy the iPhone 3GS and the latest iPod Touch include a Broadcom BCM4329 wireless chip which supports a number of nice features, including FM reception. Currently the FM receiver is only being utilized for communication with Nike+ products.
If Apple does integrate an FM radio app into the iPod Touch, that could be bad news for Microsoft's Zune HD which launched last month touting "HD Radio" as a key feature. Contrary to popular belief HD Radio does not mean "high definition" as you see it used in regards to TVs and movies. It is simply a brand name from iBiquity, and describes a technology used to broadcast AM or FM in a digital format.