The next best thing for all of us is when the iPhone 4 comes out at the end of the month, but for Apple this is already yesterday’s news.

For the company in Cupertino, forward thinking is always at hand and today we learned that HD Radio in many of Apple’s future devices might be what is coming next.

A new Apple patent, first uncovered by Apple Insider, is entitled “Digital Radio Tagging Using an RF Tuner Accessory,” which

“users could use a handheld device to scan all stations, or only for stations delivering high-quality digital audio content. Collecting a list of digital stations and the accompanying “raw digital data” broadcast with them would allow users to scan and search stations based on the content that is currently playing, or a number of other factors included in the data.”

Apple has already gotten its feet wet with Radio tagging, since it released its latest iPod Nano, which includes FM Radio iTunes Tagging and Live Pulse. However, if today’s news is to be believed, future iPods (and certainly iPhones and iPads as well) could, for the first time, be sporting HD Radio built right into the device.

Currently, the only way iPod users can get true HD Radio is through the purchase of a $60 Gigaware HD Radio receiver (available at Radio Shack), and the free HD Radio app from iBiquity Digital, the company behind HD Radio technology.

Being able to listen to HD Radio without added accessories would certainly be nice, and it’s great to hear that Apple may finally be working on adding this to its future line of devices.