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“Where’s the FM radio in my new iPhone”?

Well, there's no radio in the new iPhone.

And some folks argue that's because listeners don't want one there.  

Interestingly, pretty much all the research indicates this is wrong.  People DO want radios in their iPhones and iPods.

So why doesn't Apple drop an FM chip in?  And why do phones or mp3 players which do contain radios generally sell no better because of them?

One answer is that FM attachments exist in the marketplace already.  It's a problem with an available solution, in other words.

A second answer is that "wanting" something and "needing" it are two different things.  Folks want a radio in their iPhones – but they don't need one there.  They do, after all, have zillions of streaming options on the very same device, not to mention five analog radios in every household and driveway.  Who needs one more radio?

A third answer is that what people want won't necessarily influence their purchase decision when they're weighing a multitude of factors including, not incidentally, what's cool and fresh.

That's one reason why units with FM radios don't outsell iPods and iPhones.  Because they're not iPods and iPhones!

People don't always get what they want.  But that doesn't mean their problems aren't solved by the products they buy.

It is foolish to imagine that listeners don't want radios in their iPhones.  It is likewise foolish to imagine that Apple will add that capability, all other things equal.

And those last four words are important.  

For if Apple were to perceive that the addition of FM radio could enable tagging which would in turn power music discovery through (profitable) iTunes purchases, this may change their decision-making calculus. (I said "may," though I think it's unlikely).  Then again, if FM can be tagged, why not tag a zillion streams and power iTunes purchases that way.  

Indeed, it's worth noting that no element of the iPhone's architecture seems built to "promote" the iTunes store – there's just one little button, like any other.  This is hardly the central element of the device – and it's less central all the time.  And as the iPhone grows more tentacles around more functions unrelated to music, the odds of an FM radio in the device fall.

Apple's long-run interest is to profitably sustain their famous functional elegance while at the same time staying on the fashion-forward side of the cool/uncool divide.

Their goal is to elicit "oohs" and "aahs."  

Not to replicate the dial on your clock radio.

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