Perhaps sensing that the iPhone app is a raw deal for existing subscribers, Sirius XM has released a car and home dock that effectively turns the iPhone into a satellite radio.
After inserting the iPhone or iPod Touch, the entire dock is plugged into the car’s cigarette lighter for power, according to Twice. Using a new technology that Sirius XM is bringing to its receivers, the dock doesn’t require a separate antenna to get the satellite signal. Everything is contained within the device itself. And because the dock uses a satellite signal instead of the Internet, the full range of Sirius XM channels are available.
A free app lets users control the music from the iPhone, and it also allows tagging of songs for download from iTunes. Music stored locally on the iPhone or iPod Touch can also be played through the dock. Sirius XM is awaiting FCC approval of the device, but it should be available this fall.
It’s too bad that the dock’s price is pretty steep, at $120, because this is a pretty useful piece of equipment for Sirius XM subscribers who are also iPhone owners. The release of a separate iPhone app did little to pacify these users, as the service costs an extra $3 even if you already get the satellite service. Plus, the iPhone app is missing some content, including Howard Stern’s radio show.
This dock solves the content issues without additional monthly charges, and for people who don’t have Sirius XM built into the car, it alleviates the need to attach the antenna to the roof every time you want to listen to satellite.
The problem, as always, is that Siriux XM continues to be an expensive option for music fans. If you’re an iPhone owner, radio options like Pandora and Slacker radio are perfectly adequate for music, and they’re free.