XM SkyDock tunes your iPhone to satellite radio

Continuing the trend of using the iPhone as an everything gadget, Sirius XM today unveiled its in-car XM SkyDock that turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a satellite radio. Why would you want this new toy instead of just downloading the Sirius XM iPhone app that will bring you the company's programming over 3G or Wi-Fi? Read on.

First off, they SkyDock brings you the entirety of XM's channel lineup (and the "Best" of Sirius if you pay more), not just the Internet stuff. Second, the dock has a built-in FM transmitter for relaying the music to your car stereo. Third, it relays that music via Sirius XM's new PowerConnect system, which transmits the FM signal through your car's electronics system rather than over the air. That theoretically should lead to better reception, and better-sounding audio. And finally, it charges your iPhone while its in the cradle.

The XM SkyDock works with free iPhone app download, though since Apple doesn't allow background apps, you can only listen to the service while the app is running. So forget listening to Howard Stern while using one of those cool turn-by-turn GPS apps — not gonna happen. Not sure if that makes me want to not bother with this gadget, or petition Apple harder to let apps run in the background. In either case, the SkyDock is probably better suited to the iPod Touch than the iPhone. It's coming this fall for $120 (plus that $13/month subscription — $8 if you already subscribe).

Via Sirius XM