USA’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) initiated its efforts in a direction to twist Apple’s Arm into re-introducing the FM Chips into iPhones to enable Radio.

In plight of emergencies, the FM is the only way of broadcasting messages. FM has been the primary mode of emergency broadcast since WW2. FCC Chairman “Ajit Pai” is insisting Apple provide FM functionality in iPhone.
FCC insisting Apple to enable FM Chips, Apple remain indifferent.
Techscoop Art

Why FM, why not LTE?

FMs are provided in Cars but not everyone has a car but most people have phones. Every mobile board contains a Radio Chip that is able to tune into FM channels. Only 33% of all Mobiles have functional FM chip, rest are deactivated by their providers. But these FM chips can be reactivated by the carriers and mobile phone manufacturers like Apple.
Apart from availability, FM has intrinsic advantages of physics over LTE. FM is simply faster than LTE signals. Basic physics, more wavelength less frequency and vice versa. FM works on lower frequency wavelengths, (525 kHz ~ 1705 kHz for AM and 88 MHz ~108 MHz for FM) while LTE works on higher frequencies (700~2100 MHz), that is why FM can travel longer distances while LTE requires Mobile tower to cover more area.
Mobile towers are not very reliable in case of highly turbulent atmosphere and that is why you don’t get a signal in case of a hurricane or in storms.
Apart from the range, mobile towers also face other issues like Congestion, signal drop, echo etc. Which is not good in case of emergencies, because call volume increases exponentially in such situation rendering the whole service useless.
So it is pretty clear that when Storm hits, you should rely on a Radio not on your phone calls for important updates because in all likelihood mobile towers will be the first one to give up.

Apple vs. FM

Frequency Modulation or in simple terms, a Radio is probably the least sought after feature in a smartphone. Even in iPhone the Radio that iTunes provides works over the Internet. Due to its lack of usage and popularity, Apple decided to lowball this feature way back in 2011. Since then it became a least prioritized feature and subsequently deactivated from the iPhone’s circuit board at the time of assembly.
FCC insisting Apple to enable FM Chips, Apple remain indifferent.
FM Chip Availability
Source ABI Research
The concern is real for US population as there have been a series of disasters that raised many questions on working on Government’s approach to relief efforts. In emergency situations, Communication could make difference between life and death. The government could direct people to safer areas, inform about relief efforts and issue warning etc.
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There is no official statement from Apple for why it doesn’t wants FM on iPhone. The possible reason why the FM is not available in rather a cringy one. The apple critics think that if iPhone had FM than there would be fewer sales for music and less internet usage on iPhone. As FM is free and a good way to stay engaged in some activity, Apple will suffer loss.
So FM chip was guillotined not because it is an old outdated technology but because it was bad for Apple’s business. Similar things were done with headphone jack recently, headphone jack port is removed so that Apple doesn’t have to pay a royalty for using headphone jacks anymore, plus you have to buy accessories if you want to use wireless headphones. So there is win-win for Apple.

Stand of FCC

As of now, FCC is not taking any strong action to force apple into activating FM chips. Ajit Pai mentioned that they will not mandate the manufacturers to put in FM chips, as it is against market policies.
But if FCC wants they can single out largest smartphone manufacturers like Apple to reconsider their position. There are other ways to get things done and blocking Apple’s tax break on their various project is one of those ways. Apple is getting $ 208 million tax break on building Iowa Data Center. If FCC started blocking the tax breaks and contracts Apple is getting, the fear of loss due to drop in Share prices will force Apple to take the FCC’s line.
FCC declared that most manufacturers have agreed to enable FM access to their device, with an exception of Apple.
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