Apple wants to take Nike+ to a different level to perform precise, real-time tracking of runners’ performance and–shiver–offer location-based information and advertising. Their latest patent not only details how they will get rid of the current RFID sensor and add a series of force sensors instead–as well as GPS support–but also how they are contemplating other “authorised” shoes. Does this mean they are abandoning their relationship with Nike?
Since, a runner’s stride and stride type can vary over the course of a run (a sprint typically uses more of a toe plant style whereas a power walker would use more of a heel plant style), a user’s running style profile can also vary over the course of the run (as well as well as over the course or months or years, or as the running shoes wear, or between different, but authorised, running shoes). Therefore, in order to more accurately gauge a user’s overall running style, a user’s average running style can be calculated. In some cases, the user’s average running style is accumulated from a number of previous runs using the same running shoe or can incorporate average running styles from different (but authorised) running shoes, if desired. In this way, a user has the ability to compare running styles and/or performance not only from one run to another, but from one running shoe to another, or merely deduce an overall running style regardless of the running shoe used.
In addition to the tracking of the actual striding pattern, and the wear and tear of the running shoe, Apple is also contemplating the idea of incorporating a GPS receiver in the shoes, which will track the running precisely but also provide with context so the iPod can tell to the runner point of interest and, get this, location-based advertisement. Let’s hope they make this optional because, otherwise, not even our favourite Running Man, Bra Collector, and Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen is going to get them.