updated 11:50 pm EDT, Thu August 20, 2009
Sirius iPhone Dock Rumor
Sirius XM is about to launch a wave of new satellite radio devices that could include the first-ever add-on radio dock for the iPhone, a rumor asserts this evening. The satellite radio provider has reportedly sent invites for a New York press event on August 26th that will not only update Sirius XM's regular technology but also introduce an accessory for Apple devices known as the SkyDock. It would take advantage of iPhone OS 3's support for third-party hardware to give iPhone and iPod touch owners direct satellite radio access. A diagram of the peripheral given to Satwaves shows the dock having its own antenna that would also have a direct audio output to feed music to headphones or a car's aux-in jack.
While Sirius XM already has its own iPhone app for streaming most channels over an Internet connection, the add-on would not only provide satellite radio anywhere the user could receive a signal -- particularly useful for the iPod touch -- but would give them access to channels Sirius XM deliberately excludes from its online feed, including Howard Stern. The contact also claims that the SkyDock would be sold in Apple retail stores and other outlets where Sirius XM has previously never had a presence and therefore give it considerably further reach.
What else would be launched is mostly vague, though a key addition could be a new FM technology that would save owners of conventional satellite radios from having to run a wire to the car's regular radio antenna to boost reception. Boomboxes with radios, as well as accessory kits with antennas, are also considered possibilities.
A satellite radio adapter for the iPhone would further reflect an about-face by Sirius XM. When it was split into its original companies, the two tried to compete in portable audio by launching satellite-specific devices like the Sirius Stiletto or the XM-only Pioneer Inno. Neither separate firm had particular success both due to technical reasons like battery life or reception as well as the popularity of the iPod, which for many provided custom music for significantly less expense.