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View Full Version : News Flash: 33% of Listeners Want FM Tuners

Damion Chaplin
04-04-2007, 06:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.powerpage.org/2007/04/survey_finds_33_of_users_wanting_fm_playback_on_mp3_devices.html' target='_blank'>http://www.powerpage.org/2007/04/survey_finds_33_of_users_wanting_fm_playback_on_mp3_devices.html</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>&quot;In a Jacobs Media survey conducted between late February and March of 2007, approximately 33% of respondents in a survey consisting of over 25,000 listeners of various rock stations around the United States cited that they'd like FM radio playback on current or future iPods. Jacobs Media operates as a radio consulting firm within the United States. The poll also established that an FM playback ability seemed more important to users than an increased storage capacity, larger screen or video playback according to Macworld UK. To date, Apple has never included a built-in FM receiver with its iPod devices, leaving third-party firms to provide these features. Microsoft's Zune MP3 player, which debuted in late 2006, made a point of including FM radio support and marketing this as a missing feature not found on the iPod.&quot;</em></p><p>Wait a second here, 33% of radio listeners want radio tuners in their MP3 players?&nbsp; Shocking.&nbsp; Actually, I'm amazed that percentage is so low.&nbsp; Why would radio listeners <em>not</em> want an FM tuner in their player?&nbsp; Do they think it adds considerable cost to the device?&nbsp; Many manufacturers (namely everyone but Apple) proved that wrong long ago.&nbsp; So what's Apple's stubbornness here?&nbsp; Why is it they don't want people listening to the radio on their iPod?&nbsp; Because then they won't be interested in buying more tunes from iTunes?&nbsp; I suspect that's part of the reason, but as usual Apple's true motivations remain obscure.</p>

04-04-2007, 07:14 PM
Do FM radios need to go past the FCC or similar body? Perhaps its to stop their future products being leaked out?

04-04-2007, 07:31 PM
I don't want a static-y FM tuner in my MP3 player (well ok, I actually do). What I want is an HD Radio tuner in my MP3 player. Digital audio with CD quality music and loads of other goodies floating all over the place and I have no way to listen to it. Why not give me one of these?

I'd love something like this for the Zune!

Vincent M Ferrari
04-04-2007, 07:37 PM
I don't know... Maybe Apple's motivation could be 67% not wanting FM radios on their MP3 players?

I honestly could not care less about FM radio. In NYC it all sucks. When I'm not listening to my iPod, I'm listening to my XM.

04-04-2007, 09:16 PM
The reasons are obvious:

1. (As one poster already mentioned) 67% don't want an FM Transmitter

2. (This is a big one, and one specifically mentioned by Apple execs in the first years of iPod dominance) Apple does not want to introduce a feature that will increase the size of the form factor, restrict them in future size reductions, or which will prevent them from adding it to the entire line.

(I would imagine this is what is preventing a Zune nano: it's very difficult to get wifi into the very small form factor.)

3. Yes, they are trying to drive the market to transition to personally owned, personally empowered content.

4. It does allow for a 3rd party market which saves Apple money and also makes Apple and others additional revenue.

I imagine that when Apple feels that the iTS and the digital market are fimrly enough established and when transmitters can be added across the entire family of products (while still accounting for future size reductions) without need for size adjustments, then they will add it. Until then, despite your claim that the market has proven the desire for it, Apple continues to show that it is not a huge differentiator. (If it was, the REST of the market wouldn't have just 15-25%.)

flatline response
04-08-2007, 08:58 PM
I seriously doubt that Apple made their iPods without an FM tuner armed with any sort of market survey data. Innovation does NOT rely on focus group surveys, and despite not being the first to market, the iPod/iTunes/iTMS ecosystem and, more importantly, the iPod's friendly UI was indeed innovative.

Apple did address the (apparent) minority by creating their own separate tuner. From my own personal use, it works but only goes to complicate using an iPod with an undesired add-on. As for any so-called inability to package an integral FM tuner in a compact package...that sort of conclusion is a pathetic joke. Look at some of the form factors of the tiniest MP3 players on the market WITH FM capability AND line-in recording; these companies don't seem to have any problems with packaging.

I've always believed that Apple excluded radio functions because that wasn't the market or direction they felt an MP3 player should go in. Sony--at least early on--didn't include radio with their cassette Walkmans. Most personal CD players excluded radio functions as well. Besides, it could be argued that FM listening (and any broadcast radio use in general) doesn't necessarily encourage iTMS usage and, more importantly, music sales.

As the iPod market matures, I think Apple SHOULD include integral radio functions in at least some of their iPods, giving consumers a choice of paying extra for the features. The naysayers can be dismissive of that segment of the market based on this lone survey's results, but considering how many MILLIONS of iPods that have been sold, that's a BIG chunk of potential profit that's being left on the table. As for my own radio use...I tend to only use the tuner on the Zune to listen to NPR in the morning. I'd listen MORE if there was AM capability (news, sports, traffic, talk radio, yada, yada). Otherwise, it's digital files the rest of the time.