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iPod owners want radio in next player - survey

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Size, it seems, no longer matters. Or rather it doesn't matter as much as a built-in radio. Yes, we're talking what consumers want from future iPods - at least what rock-centric radio station listeners demand, according to a new poll.

US consultancy Jacobs Media placed polls on 69 radio stations' websites last month. Some 25,000 people responded. Around 47 per cent of them already own an iPod or other MP3 player, up from 21 per cent in 2005, the first year the poll was conducted. Among those who don't own such a device, 45 per cent claimed it was highly likely they'll buy one this year.

The message for Apple, SanDisk, Creative and co. is that 33 per cent of respondents said they want their next player to contain an FM tuner. That figure rises to 43 per cent when you look solely at folk who already own an iPod - they made up 57 per cent of respondents.

Overall, only 24 per cent wanted more song-storage capacity; seven per cent want a bigger screen; seven per cent want video playback; and just three per cent hope their next music player will be physically smaller than their current one.

Not that you wouldn't expect radio listeners to favour radios on their music devices, though it's telling that Apple has managed to build up such a lead despite never building a radio into one of its iPods, though it does offer an FM radio accessory.

But there are signs MP3 players are replacing radio as the prime form of in-car entertainment. Just under half of the poll's respondents said they connect their players to their vehicles, something that's only going to increase as more cars incorporate iPod connectivity or at the very least make it easy to hook a music player up to the stereo.

The results of Jacobs Media's poll come a week after market watcher iSuppli forecast ongoing year-on-year increases in media player sales, at least until 2011, when the upward curve begins to flatten.

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