iPhone may get radio tagging and Nike+

More clues have been discovered about the goodies in store for iPhone OS 3.0 and rumored new iPhone devices. In the recently-released iTunes 8.2 software references are made to radio tagging songs for later purchase on the iTunes Store, as well as Nike+ and VoiceOver functionality that could be designed for the iPhone, according to Apple Insider. While these features on the iPhone would make a lot of sense, there's no way to know for sure the iPhone is the target product. The radio tagging, as AI points out, could be nothing more than an improved way to use the iTunes radio feature or a method for allowing peripheral radio transmitters to interact with the iPhone.

However, in April there were rumors a next-generation iPhone would get an improved Wi-Fi chip capable of sending and receiving FM signals. FM transmission would allow you to, among other things, broadcast songs from the iPhone straight to your car's FM radio instead of purchasing an add-on device to do the same job. Listening to music from your iPhone over your car radio would be a nice feature, but the ability to tag radio songs for later purchase at the iTunes Store sounds like a more Apple-esque innovation--not to mention the fact it would be a very cool feature.

Nike+

The Nike+ feature has been very popular with iPod Touch and iPod Nano owners since its release in 2006. Nike+ allows you to track and record your workout progress on your iPod, while listening to your favorite tunes or workout mix. The feature requires Nike+ shoes equipped with a pocket for a special sensor that transmits workout data to the iPod, and the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit or Sensor--iPod Touch owners have a built in transmitter for Nike+, while iPod Nano owners need the Sport Kit's external transmitter.

Given the popularity of Nike+, it makes a lot of sense for Apple to extend this feature to the iPhone. But what if you decide to accept a phone call during your workout? To be effective, Nike+ would have to continue to record your workout while you were on the call, which means Nike+ would be running in the background. Problem is, Apple has repeatedly said it does not want background processes running on the iPhone, because they would kill the iPhone's battery life and slow down the iPhone's overall performance. There has been constant speculation that Apple could give up its push notification alternative in favor of background processes on the iPhone, but so far Apple has stood firm behind its policy that only one application will run at a time on the iPhone. Could the Nike+ feature, assuming it's for the iPhone, be further evidence that background processes are coming to the iPhone?

VoiceOver on the iPhone

The final feature reportedly uncovered in iTunes 8.2 suggests the iPod Shuffle's popular VoiceOver feature could be coming to the iPhone. VoiceOver gives Shuffle owners more control over what music they listen to on their device by announcing the name of specific songs and playlists. The solution was developed for the iPod Shuffle since the device has limited playback control and no menu screen for navigation. If the rumor were true, the iPhone's VoiceOver feature could be integrated with Nike+. No one knows for sure what that sort of functionality could do, but it's possible the iPhone would be able to notify you when pre-defined workout benchmarks have been reached or to deliver general workout results via Nike+.

For the moment these new features are just rumors and it's uncertain if they will actually be coming to the iPhone. But it won't be long until we know for sure. Next Monday, Apple executives are scheduled to deliver the keynote address for this year's Worldwide Developers Conference. During the speech, Cupertino is expected to reveal more information about iPhone OS 3.0, Snow Leopard (the next iteration of OSX) and possibly new iPhone models with varying storage sizes.

Check out PC World's coverage of the WWDC keynote address starting Monday, June 8 at 10 AM PT.

Connect with Ian Paul on Twitter (@ianpaul).

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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