3rd Party Apps- We?ve Yet To Meet Ya… But We Already Love Ya

On June 15, 2008

As I wrote last week, 3rd party applications have the potential to fill in some of the iPhone’s blind spots. Another example popped up this week and this time, unlike TomTom’s on-again, off-again, turn-by-turn GPS navigation, this one is really going to happen. Perhaps more importantly, this one is a HUGE deal that everyone is going to welcome!

So what is it that the iPhone is lacking and 3rd Party apps are bringing?


Creative’s Zen devices have them. The Microsoft Zune has one, too. For some reason, however, Apple has never seen fit to add an FM radio to any of the various iPods. They didn’t see fit to add one to the first generation iPhone, either. Sure there are a number of different add-ons that bring FM radio to iPods, but they are easy to lose, cost extra and they fall short of the iPod’s design elegance.

It comes as no surprise to learn that the 3G iPhone continues this familiar trend. It has a host of built in radios but an FM radio isn’t among them.
Thanks to America Online, however, this is about to change.

AOL has announced that a free download, America Online iPhone radio, will be available at the launch of the iPhone App Store. America Online iPhone radio will stream music to the iPhone, effectively creating a virtual iPhone radio. Powered by CBS Radio, AOL iPhone Radio will bring all 200+ AOL Radio stations and 150+ CBS Radio stations to any iPhone or iPod Touch that has an active data connection. Best of all, it will work with both the original iPhone and the upcoming iPhone 3G. AOL iPhone Radio will even take advantage of the iPhone’s Core Location feature. It will be able to locate you and determine CBS Radio stations are closest to you.

The application was unveiled at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco last week where it was named "Best Entertainment Application".

What the combination of 3G and streaming radio means to battery life is anyone’s guess but there is no denying it… this is good stuff and we are only seeing the beginning of the new power and potential applications like this will bring to the iPhone.