October 20th, 2009
Want to listen to pdx.fm on your iPhone? There isn’t an app for that—by design
When I wrote about pdx.fm launching an Internet radio station, I got a lot of people who were excited about the concept. And then, a quizzical look would cross their face and they’d scrunch up their brow and ask, “It sounds like a good idea and I love the content. But how the heck am I supposed to listen to that in the car?”
Okay. Actually nobody said that. I just made it up. People said the first two things, just not the whole “in the car” thing. It’s a literary device. I was trying to make a point.
What’s that? Oh right. The point. The point being that if there were people who had said something like that—and honestly there should have been—I would now be able to answer them with this.
“If you’ve got an iPhone,” I’d say. “You can use pdx.fm mobile.”
And since I’ve already this been using this contrived participant in the conversation, I’m going to continue to use the device. Look at me. Putting my BA in Literature to good use.
“Oh really?” this imaginary person would say. “I’ll go download that from the App Store.”
No, you won’t, silly imaginary person. You see, it’s not an app. pdx.fm is a Web page that uses Quicktime to deliver the content to iPhones.
Instead, we’re using the built-in stream features of Quicktime – available with the iPhone 3.0 update. Using Apple’s proven streaming technology you can listen to pdx.fm without having to hunt for an app, install it onto your phone, and have to keep it active through our shows.
Now why oh why in the name of all things iPhone-y would someone forego the wonderful hype of building an iPhone app?
Well, the answer is simple enough: you can’t run multiple apps at the same time—unless they’re native Apple iPhone apps.
Allow me to go off on a bit of a tangent, if you will.
You see, you can do other stuff on your iPhone while you’re on a call—by running the call feature in the background. And you can listen to your music while doing something else by running the iPod feature in the background.
Well guess what? Safari will do exactly the same thing. And what’s that mean? That means if you’re delivering your streaming content via Safari, you can run it in the background. And do other things on your phone while you’re listening. Or do nothing at all and let the phone go into standby mode.
What about the quality? The quality is awesome. They’ve even bumped up the stream to 64k. And it works just fine over Edge on old phones.
[W]e’ve boosted the stream to 64k vs. the 48k we started out with. A lot of you are still using first generation iPhones with EDGE connections and apparently most of you are able to listen to 64k without a hitch in most areas – this is great news for us because while 64k still isn’t optimal for music, it’s more than enough for most talk show programming.
Sometimes, the best solution isn’t getting all wrapped up in building apps, it’s using the features of the iPhone to your advantage. And pdx.fm has done just that.
And now that pdx.fm has leapt off the desktop and onto a truly mobile platform, the potential for the Portland Internet radio station grows exponentially.
I think it’s safe to say that when it comes to where pdx.fm could go from here, you, me, and that imaginary person whom I surreptitiously abandoned midway through the post ain’t seen nothing yet.