According to various online sources Apple is preparing to release a firmware upgrade that will unlock the dormant FM radio functionality in the iPhone 3G/3GS and the 3rd generation iPod Touch.
At the moment these are rumours, but the mixed-format wireless chipsets that are featured in the iPhone and the latest iPod Touch, which provides both the WiFi and Bluetooth capability of the devices also feature FM radio capabilities.
It is expected that a simple firmware release will unlock the FM radio functionality for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch (3rd generation), just like it released the dormant Bluetooth functionality of the iPod Touch when iPhone OS 3.0 was released earlier this year.Whether Apple will unlock FM radio as an independent functionality and application on the iPhone 3GS and 3rd generation iPod Touch, or if it will just be integrated into the iPod player alongside choice of playlists, artist, and songs, is still unknown. Same goes for the actual capabilities of the radio functionality.
What could be interesting to see though is how Apple can integrate radio on the iPhone and iPod Touch with for example selling music through their iTunes Store. Perhaps the functionality will be there to be able to directly purchase and download a song you hear on the radio player through the iTunes Store while you are listening to it, a functionality that surely would be welcomed by most of us. It also opens up further opportunities for social media integration, taking Apple a step further in the social media direction that was partly introduced with the release of iTunes 9 back in September.
We will keep you posted on the latest developments around unlocking FM radio on the iPhone 3G/3GS and 3rd generation iPod Touch.