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USA TODAY’s Personal Tech Columnist Ed Baig has the lowdown on whether the iPhone8 is worth the buy or if you should wait for iPhone 10’s release.
USA TODAY

FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants Apple to turn on the FM chip in its phones so those in a disaster area, such as hurricane-decimated Puerto Rico, could get radio broadcasts.

The chairman noted that Apple is the one major smartphone maker that has resisted activating FM chips already built-into the devices.

“When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I hope (Apple) will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.”

More: Puerto Rico is nearly entirely cut off from cell-phone service, leading to low tech solutions

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Hurricanes Maria and Irma have left 91% of Puerto Rico without cell phone coverage

Most smartphones including many iPhones have chips inside that support Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and FM, says Wayne Lam, an analyst with tech research firm IHS Market. “As components keep getting smaller, they start integrating functionality. It’s an extra feature that comes along for the ride.”

But the latest Apple iPhones — the iPhone 7 and 8 models — do not have those chips, nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals.”It is not possible to enable FM reception in these products,” the company said in a statement.

Apple said users of these phones can dial emergency services and access medical ID card information from the phones’ lock screen, and government emergency notifications, from weather advisories to AMBER alerts, also work on these phones.

“Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products,” it…