First, I should note that these are add-on products. In other words, their utility is viewed as non-essential. They are “icing on the cake” of the product and not the reason why anyone would buy an iPod. That said, it could be a reason why a few listeners listen a little bit more to radio than they otherwise would – but such behavior requires a sizable will to hear radio, since the accessory is, as I noted, an add-on – and anything non-standard and “optional” will be uncommon, like iPod cases or microphones or transmitters.
Second, since lots of radio programming is now available by podcast the ability to hear it live is somewhat moot when you can alternatively control exactly when and where you hear it on a podcast.
Third, isn’t it interesting that Apple designed this item to resemble a “classic analog radio.” In other words, the “retro” aspect of radio is what makes this feature potentially “cool” to today’s consumer. Something to consider as we overthink what it takes to make HD technology “cool.”
Fourth, as I said, this type of accessory isn’t new. It’s an asterisk to trends that really matter, no more. So don’t imagine that this is a sign of anything other than Apple’s inherent feeling that, at best, radio is – literally – only good enough to be an iPod option.