9 to 5 Mac reports that it has received a tip claiming that Apple is in the process of developing an application to bring FM radio functionality to the iPhone and iPod touch. The functionality would reportedly be similar to that found in the fifth-generation iPod nano, which offers the ability pause radio and tag songs for use in iTunes.
The FM radio application will reportedly be able to function in the background to allow user to listen to radio stations while other tasks are being performed, although it remains unclear whether the radio functionality will be a standalone application or integrated into the existing “iPod” music application. The application will also reportedly extend song tagging capabilities to integrate direct iTunes Store purchasing.
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.
The Broadcom combination Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chips used in the iPhone and iPod touch have long also had the technical capacity for FM radio reception, with the chip found in the latest iPod touch theoretically also capable of FM radio transmission, although Apple has not as yet taken advantage of these capabilities.