Sirius XM (SIRI) unveiled a bunch of new gizmos today, but the most interesting is this one, the XM SkyDock, which we first got word of last week.
The SkyDock will be available in the fall for $120. It’s an iPhone and iPod touch accessory that plugs into the gadget’s base, acting as a car dock, satellite radio antenna, and charging station. When you pop open a free tuner app on your iPhone or iPod, it becomes a satellite radio.
This doesn’t just receive the Internet streaming channels that the existing Sirius XM app offers, but actually taps into XM’s satellite radio signal. This means it can access channels that the other Sirius iPhone app currently can’t, such as the Howard Stern channels. And it doesn’t require a cellular or wi-fi signal to operate, so it will work in the middle of nowhere, or with an iPod touch, which doesn’t have a cellular radio.
The device has been granted “preliminary” approval by the FCC, Sirius says, and is still going through an evaluation.
This isn’t as convenient as a satellite radio built into your car, but it’s a neat, unintrusive option, and good for people who switch cars a lot or use rental cars. It probably won’t do much to drive Sirius XM’s subscriber growth, but could be popular with existing subscribers. (We’re not sure if it also lets you place and receive speakerphone calls. We’ve asked Sirius for more info and will update when we hear back.)
And like TomTom’s in-car iPhone GPS dock, it’s also an interesting use of Apple’s new hardware accessory APIs, which it released this summer in the iPhone 3.0 upgrade.
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