The only way for anything to become popular is for it to be free. I haven't paid for a computer program in years. If it's free, it's for me. Cheap cheap cheap.
Apple's iThingies aren't free, or even cheap, but they're widely popular. Quality and utility (and status symbol branding) is how they do it. True, the 'radio' industry is a niche market, but only until it evolves into a content deliverer.... to all those iThingies. The standalone FM receiver will be relegated to emergencies when the power and the cell/internet grids are down. Probably as a chip in a modern LED flashlight, and notably lacking power-draining "HD" features.
And we complain about all the greed. Which is the better virtue? Cheap or greed?
People who don't understand economics complain about 'greed'. Capitalism isn't 'greed'. Ibiquity brought a solution to the table in a niche market (the fading old school standalone terrestrial radio) and programmers signed up so they wouldn't have to go through AM Stereo again. Consumers and manufacturers saw no need to do so. Now the content providers are using the web to get the multiple channels of programming out to consumers' devices of choice. TunedIn and I-Heart are the delivery systems competing with Ibiquity, and Ibiquity is losing. But Ibiquity and its predecessors made the bets up front and put up the bucks which they are now trying to recover in licensing fees and by adding flashy video interfaces to car radios (brilliant).
Meanwhile the FCC, aka the government, puts up artificial roadblocks to multi-use bandwidth and tries to muck with the internet under the guise of 'neutrality'; now that's 'greed', power-hungry nanny political sloth style. And the pols don't have any guiding principle like profit to motivate them to act virtuously and productively. Hence a 90% disapproval rating for government greed and a 90% approval rating for free-market attractively designed high priced iThingies. And crickets for standalone HD receivers, whose time, if they ever had one, has most certainly passed.
Radio does have one big advantage over internet delivered content. Bandwidth. You can multicast programming to an unlimited number of people with radio. Each internet listener uses a little bit of the "fat pipe" and the capability is certainly not unlimited.
When we first started using IP based remote gear we could use the 3G networks with good results. But today, in many markets, 3G is un-usable for audio codecs. In Atlanta, they are not very useable during drivetime hours. 4G still works well but it's only a matter of time until these systems start to choke from user loading.
As I've said before, the best solution might be a hybrid system which uses IBOC channels for programming delivery and Ethernet for adding unique elements (GPS based ads, traffic reports etc.) and for listener interaction with content providers.
I think the main problem is a stagnation of programming ideas which the bean counters can understand, and wrap their tiny little minds around. There are plenty of people, like myself, with ideas.......but the folks who run radio are too frightened of failure to dare try them. It's all 'bout da money........