IBiquity Digital has released the first HD Radio accessory for the iPhone. While the app is free from the Apple App store, it requires a Gigaware HD Radio Tuner to receive FM HD Radio signals.
This is the third mobile device for HD Radio, following the release of the Insignia HD from Best Buy this summer and the Microsoft Zune HD in September.
The Gigaware accessory lists for $79.99 at Radio Shack and uses the listener’s earphone cord as an antenna.
When you combine the HD Radio App with the Gigaware Navigation Controller, you can listen to FM HD Radio with your iPhone and iPod Touch.
Using the Gigaware accessories, users can use iTunes Tagging to tag songs and download songs for later purchase. IBiquity showed prototype Gigaware devices at the NAB Radio Show.
Bob Struble, head of iBiquity, told the Wall Street Journal that the relatively high cost of the HD tuner is offset by the fact that digital signal can often be picked up in areas where there is not Wi-Fi or 3G signal capabilities. “The signal is coming from your local radio broadcast, so in most cases, if you’re within range of that signal,” the app will work exactly as a radio does, he said. Users are able to access multicast channels as well as local radio stations.
We’ve reported that iBiquity has been talking to Apple about building in HD Radio capabilities to its popular consumer devices. Struble told Radio World at the fall convention that those discussions were continuing.