Apple Gets Sirius

The long-anticipated marriage of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone and Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) is coming, according to Orbitcast.

Several unnamed sources are telling the satellite radio news site that the uSirius Starplayr program is being submitted to Apple over the weekend. The third-party application will then be just a head nod away from its official release through Apple's App Store.

Is it too little, too late?

Online streaming has been a free perk to paying Sirius XM subscribers, but that is likely to change. Several reports indicate that the company plans to begin charging an additional $2.99 a month for the service -- as it upgrades the audio quality -- in March.

Having a home in Apple's storefront is huge, but will consumers pay up? There are already plenty of free programs out there, including Pandora, Slacker, Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX  ) AOL Music, and CBS' (NYSE: CBS  ) Last.fm.

Naturally, there is plenty at stake here. If Sirius XM is able to deliver its programming digitally, it will mean fewer receivers to subsidize. Streaming costs aren't cheap, but this can certainly be an incrementally profitable offering for Sirius if so many other companies are giving it away. Several years from now, maybe even costly satellites and signal repeaters won't be necessary. The downside there, of course, is that a level playing field will make things more competitive for Sirius XM.

Either way, the real crime here is that Sirius XM didn't come to market with its own App Store program first. The ability to reach every iPhone user and any iPod Touch owner with a steady Wi-Fi connection is ridiculous to ignore.

Even when big brands stumble in the App Store -- like Chipotle Mexican Grill's (NYSE: CMG  ) (NYSE: CMG-B  ) short-lived mobile-ordering program -- it's important to see companies roll up their sleeves to reach growing audiences.

Kudos to Starplayr if it does hit the market next month. Shame on Sirius XM for not getting there first.

Some other tales of satrad fame:

CHIPOTLE CL B is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of CHIPOTLE CL B. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is such a fan of satellite radio that he subscribes to both Sirius and XM. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (55)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2009, at 3:09 PM, shortandlong wrote:

    big deal, windows mobile phones got Sirius 3 years ago..thaks for geekstoolbox.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2009, at 5:05 PM, MrT3000 wrote:

    It seems that the competitive analysis for this article and for previous fool articles about sirius that I have read only focuses on the music as the main point of comparison with other services and applications.

    I believe if this analysis would incorporate exclusive content such as Howard Stern, live sporting events, etc., it may not necessarily be much better for Sirius, but it would be more fair.

  • Report this Comment On January 28, 2009, at 8:27 PM, Skysclear wrote:

    Rick.... NO..

    NOT too little too late.. Just Perfect for these times with ALL the Tech. Industry!... For Cryin' out loud..

    Eithger Blog a Shag, or Blog a Gag!.. You NEVER Blog

    a WAG!!

    Siri gets knocked down so many time.. you would think

    it was a Beach Ball!... It's a Stock ..A Good Stock.

    And is not the ONLY Stock in debt.. , nor manipulated by the Funds.. Nor the only one abused by the control of the Street feed Programs at Reuters.

    Buy a Vowel.. Preferably 2!.. Both O's, in between 'G' and 'D', for Siri and Apple!

    Can you say that???

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2009, at 12:46 AM, crimus wrote:

    well finally sirius will be catering to itouch/iphone users.

    boy thats gonna help with the billion dollar debt...

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2009, at 12:51 AM, winningpennies wrote:

    Siriusly Concur!

    Sirius has weathered the market and economy's ups and downs for almost two decades now. Their ability to network and create new partnerships almost daily never ceases to amaze me... Stay strong Sirius ... you still have plenty of friends, fans and faithful investors out there.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2009, at 7:58 AM, gspet wrote:

    I agree with MrT3000. Sirius is about a lot more than music IF they expand their web offerings. With their web streaming becoming subscription in March will they carry the non-music channels? MLB, NFL, NHL, etc. The news and comedy programs? Talk shows? Will it work with wi-fi only or will it work with 3G and Edge? There's great opportunity here for Sirius if they do it right.

  • Report this Comment On January 29, 2009, at 7:45 PM, waynepancom wrote:

    I pondered this when the iPhone first launched here:

    http://waynepan.com/2008/07/17/16gb-iphones-are-useless-and-...

    Glad to see it finally happening.

  • Report this Comment On February 09, 2009, at 1:23 PM, entertradio wrote:

    Sirius keeps making attempts to weather the market. And the radio industry has so much changing that it's time for people to find their new jobs inside the radio world. As a dj, announcer, station manager, sportscaster, the dream job for an entry career starts while being trained at the station in 6 months. http://www.radioconnection.com a severe career matchmaking service with all the connects to get going.

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