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Apple + Nike = Exercise Nirvana

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I just recently started dragging my lazy butt out of bed earlier than necessary to get into better shape. I know, I’m sacrificing my geekhood. Let me tell you, running is about my least favorite thing in the world (moreso than using a Windows PC). But today as I was going to Apple’s website for my daily dream session of ‘what would I buy?’ I saw the little Nike+Apple thing on the front page. Hmm, what’s THIS?

It seems Nike and Apple have teamed up:

Find out what happens when the leading name in sports and the leading name in digital music team up to take on your workout.

Ok, so what’s it all do? The 3 keys to the system are a pair of Nike’s soon-to-be-released Nike+ running shoes(~ $100), the Nike+iPod Sport Kit ($29), and an iPod Nano.

The Sport Kit consists of a small keyfob type object which is the sensor that goes in a special pocket in the sole of the Nike+ Shoe. Also in the Sport Pack is the wireless receiver which plugs into the Nano’s data port. The sensor transmits data about your run (speed, time, distance, etc) to the receiver, and a voice actually overlays your music, notifying you of way-points in your workout. Cool!

If you check out the demo on the Nike Plus page, it shows you sort of how this works – whether it’s a true representation, or a recreation, I’m not sure. It appears that you can even create playlists timed to your run and execute ‘boost’ music to get push yourself that little extra bit with some adrenaline-pumping tracks. Then when you get back, sync your iPod and download data from your workout, and track your exercise results over time.

Apple and Nike have really thought things out here. You can monitor your workouts, upload the data to Nike’s site if you wish, compare your results against others, and generally become a part of the running community through technology. Nike even offers – with ‘coming soon’ notes on the iTunes Music Store links – running songs to download and exercise to, as well as podcasts and stories about inspiring athletes.

This is a full fledged initiative, and I for one am biting. This sounds awesome, and I can’t wait to start using it in my own workout regimen. But what else does this suggest? I’d say the next thing we’ll see – or at least in the very near future – from the iPod is bluetooth built-in. Then the need for this receiver seems to all but go away… Wireless running sensor, wireless earbuds. Could be some very neat applications just around the corner.

13 Responses to “Apple + Nike = Exercise Nirvana”

  1. What disturbs me about it, in fact, is that Apple’s a company that has been able to avoid sleeping with the devil. Go to a site like and check out PAC contributions, for example, on Apple vs. Dell (I love pointing this one out to the win-dell crowd): there’s a polar difference in direction there, which (if recent polls of American voters are to be weighted) favors Apple’s discretion by a long shot. Thus, an alliance with a firm as poor (and well-documented) a labor history as Nike is even more disturbing.

    I work every day with geeks, and I know that the stereotype about them is total BS. They are socially aware, sensitive, and sophisticated people. Why should we pretend that technology is somehow distant from morals or the life of citizenship in a democracy, when those of us who know a lot of geeks personally and professionally know that it just ain’t so in reality?

  2. I assume the video ipods will work as well (having the same universal connector that the nano has), but I suppose they didn’t mention it because jogging with it is like carrying a brick on your arm…? it’s worth a shot to try it at least.

  3. Myles

    The Macintosh comes full circle.

    The very first desktop publishing document, a demo for MacWrite and MacPaint on the 128k Macintosh, was a presentation for a new sneaker design.

    Twenty-two years later – here it is!

    Clearly, Apple got a volume discount on accelerometers when they developed the “sudden motion sensor” for their ‘book drives. Someone asked, “Ok, everybody, how else can we use these things?”

  4. Myles

    The Macintosh comes full circle.

    The very first desktop publishing document, a demo for MacWrite and MacPaint on the 128k Macintosh, was a presentation for a new sneaker design.

    Twenty-two years later – here it is!

  5. wormbuff

    My big question regards the quality of the pedometer. Is this a cheap gizmo (pure step counts vs time) or an intermediate gizmo (with some velocity tracking) or a high-tech gizmo (similar to Polar’s S625 $300 units). My guess (sadly) would be the first seeing as the foot unit and the receiver are $29?

  6. Udo Schmitz

    Play hard, work harder.

    “Although 60% of factories monitored achieved an A or B rating in terms of compliance with agreed standards, a quarter of factories were found to present more serious problems. These ranged from a lack of basic terms of employment and excessive hours of work to unauthorised sub-contracting, confirmed physical or sexual abuse and the existence of conditions which could lead to death or serious injury.”

    Think different my ass …

  7. Well, it’s great for runners at least.

    Those of us that have to get our exercise in other ways because of injuries will have to wait until the biking/swimming/aerobics versions come out.