Sirius XM Radio has introduced a car dock that turns a motorist's Apple iPhone or iPod Touch into a satellite radio, giving the firm entry to millions of users of the popular devices.
The XM SkyDock, unveiled Wednesday, takes advantage of the iPhone OS 3's hardware control capabilities in providing access to the company's commercial-free music, sports, talk radio, and news programming. In addition, listeners can tune in to the "Best of Sirius" package, which includes shock jock Howard Stern and Major League Baseball and National Football League play-by-play programs.
The dock works in concert with Sirius' iPhone and iPod Touch application that lets users listen to the company's 120 different radio channels through the hardware. Released in June, the application reached a million downloads within the first two weeks of its release.
Besides listening to programming, people can tag songs heard through their Apple devices for download from the iTunes music store later. Other features include sports, artist and song alerts, and sports and stock tickers.
In introducing SkyDock, Sirius is trying to tap the millions of users of the iPhone and iPod Touch. The attempt at expanding the company's customer base comes at a time when Sirius' subscriber base is dropping. At the end of June, the company reported 18.4 million subscribers, down from 18.6 million at the end of March. Sirius, which sells its service through deals with automakers, has suffered during the economic recession that hammered new car sales.
Sirius XM, formed by the merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio, is awaiting final approval for SkyDock from the Federal Communications Commission, which has granted preliminary approval of the device. Sirius plans to start selling SkyDock in stores and on its Web site starting in the fall. The device will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $120. Sirius tacks on an additional monthly service fee for programming.
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