updated 10:48 am EDT, Tue June 10, 2014
Could theoretically integrate with iWatch, Health app
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on a weightlifting tracking technology, says AppleInsider. The patent is actually titled Shoe wear-out sensor, body-bar sensing system, unitless activity assessment and associated methods, and was first filed in 2006, but since then Apple has removed claims related to the shoe sensor and unitless measurement concepts. The company appears to have made the most drastic changes after a version of its patent application was published in early 2013.
The weightlifting technology would involve attaching a sensor-equipped device to a barbell, which could then count and show repetitions. More significantly however the tracker could also transmit that data to another device, such as a watch. That might suggest integration with the iWatch and/or the HealthKit platform.
Apple is likely interested in the architecture the patent represents rather than in building such a niche sensor itself. A variety of health and fitness accessory makers have already announced plans to support HealthKit, and until this year Apple has had relatively little involvement in the fitness industry. Its greatest project so far has been Nike + iPod, a sensor/software combination supported by the iPhone, iPod nano, and iPod touch.