By Joseph Palenchar
HD Radio came to the iPhone and iPod Touch with RadioShack's launch of an add-on tuner whose user interface appears on the handheld devices' touchscreen.
The accessory would be the third headphone-style portable stereo equipped with HD Radio. Earlier this year, Best Buy launched an Insignia-brand personal portable with HD Radio, and in September, Microsoft launched the HD Radio-equipped Zune portable media player (PMP). All three HD Radio portable devices receive FM stations and multicast FM stations but not AM stations.
The $79.99-suggested Gigaware-brand HD Radio accessory, available only at RadioShack, works with iPhones and Touches upgraded with Apple's 3.0 OS. The user interface, which also displays station metadata, is available as a free download available direct to the devices via Wi-Fi or 3G cellular from the iTunes App Store. The tuner can also be controlled from the accessory's wired remote, which plugs into the iPhone's 30-pin port and to the user's existing headphones. The headphone cable acts as an antenna.
Like the $49.99 Best Buy portable, the RadioShack accessory features iTunes Tagging, which lets users “tag” a broadcast song. The tagged song's title and artist information are saved to facilitate later PC downloading of the title.
More than 2,000 HD Radio stations on the air, including more than 1,000 FM multicast (HD2/HD3) channels, said HD Radio developer iBiquity Digital.