A recent Apple patent application could signal the company is looking to include an HD Radio feature in future iOS devices. An HD radio tuner would let devices scan radio broadcasts as well as do content-based searches for stations playing particular songs, genres, artists, and so on.
According to AppleInsider, Apple's patent would bring the trademarked wireless radio format, HD Radio, owned by iBiquity to future generations of iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The application details the potential user experience, stating, "enhanced metadata and searching can provide the listener the ability to refine station choices without having to listen at length to any particular station, and further can facilitate tagging broadcast tracks for subsequent access and/or purchase."
Similar tagging technology is already part of Apple's iTunes Music strategy, appearing in HD Radio-enabled devices since they partnered with iBiquity in 2007. The latest generation iPod Nano, which has a built-in FM radio tuner, is also capable of tagging songs to be purchased later in iTunes.
Should Apple fully integrate the HD Radio functionality into iPhones and iPods, it would be just one more feature that Microsoft's Zune could no longer claim as unique when compared with Apple's portable devices. What do you think, should Apple include HD Radio in future iOS devices? Let us know in the comments.