As we moved forward to depend more heavily on technology in recent years, smartphones have become an essential component of our everyday lives. As almost everyone has access to smartphone, the phone’s radio can be extremely helpful during natural disasters when cellphone networks become unavailable. Interestingly, iPhones lacked the functionality over the years and National Association of Broadcasters and the FCC has asked the tech giant to enable the feature in the company’s devices so that they can be used as a method of communication during natural disasters. However, the company responded that Apple cannot enable FM radio in the iPhones as the iPhone doesn’t have an FM chip to enable.
Talking about the roles of communication during the time of disaster, a spokesperson for the National Association of Broadcasters commented, “Broadcasters are providing information on how to evacuate quickly, where flood waters are raging, how to get out of harm’s way if there’s a tornado or a hurricane. The notion that Apple or anyone else would block this type of information is something that we find fairly troubling.”
On the other hand, FCC chairman Ajit Pai released an official statement as he said the following:
“I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones. Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones. It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.”
However, Apple followed up to these statements by revealing that iPhone 7 or 8 doesn’t have FM chips meaning the company cannot enable the functionality. The company issued an statement that reads, “Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts. iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products.”
Featured image: Flickr/Hamza Butt