updated 11:25 am EDT, Thu March 27, 2008
Apple fitness system?
Apple may be expanding its reach to include a new fitness system integration for its iPhone and the iPod touch, patent filings indicate. Although Apple already has a similar system, developed in tandem with shoemaker Nike, the Nike+iPod kit currently only works with Nanos, restricting both iPod owners and the marketing options of the corporations. The new system would likely have four components: iTunes-style software, physiological sensors, a rewards tracker and a means of coordinating group activities.
The software described is used to create an exercise routine, and tailors it to an individual by asking a series of questions, such as general interests (martial arts, swimming, etc.), the purpose of the exercise (weight loss, muscle tone, etc.) and any impediments like asthma, back pain or medications. The synthesized routine could involve not just walking and running, as with Nike+iPod, but elements such as weight training.
Once this information was synched to a Touch or an iPhone, mobile software would guide users through each step, recording results. To facilitate this Apple describes a variety of possible body sensors, including some that could be built into future portable devices.
Pushing people to exercise would be the rewards and group activity schemes, similar to that presently used at the Nikeplus website. What would constitute a reward is unknown, but each one would be customized for a person's particular achievement.
One illustration supplied with the patents depicts potential sling, holder and sensor designs, but notably, exchanges a Touch/iPhone for an iPod classic.