Rumor: Apple to 'unlock' Radio.app for iPhone and iPod touch?

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9 to 5 Mac has received word that Apple is working on bringing FM radio capabilities to its iPhone and iPod touch lines. More specifically, Radio.app (as it is known) will purportedly have permission to operate in the background (because Apple’s apps are better than the 80,000 other apps that don’t get to run in the background, or something) and “will offer the same functionality as the FM radio in the new iPod Nanos.”

Thanks to our friendly neighborhood tear-down enthusiasts, we’ve known that the iPhone 3G S and the iPod touch (2G and 3G) have included a FM receiver (which is part of the chipset used for Nike+) for quite a while. We’re sort of doubting that Apple would share the FM-radio-wealth (at least not with those who’ve already purchased their iPhones/touches) without asking for a buck or two in return – but even so, the addition of FM is so frequently requested that it’s just nice to see happen. According to the knowledgeable tipster:

The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program. For instance, if you like a song you are listening to on the radio (and that station supports tagging and you are in the US), you will be able to push a button and see the song (and all of the information around it) in the iTunes Mobile store. With another click, you’ll be able to make a purchase. This is an extension of the Song Tagging feature used in the iPod Nanos.

Come on, Apple. Make the right call here and unleash the incredible technology that is FM radio. Or, if you prefer to let the Zune HD (and others) maintain a slight edge with its integrated FM capabilities, so be it. The ball is in your court.

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