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Apple and Nike Team up for iPod Shoe Interface 300

lyonsden writes "Apple and Nike are teaming up to provide runners a system to integrate their shoes and their iPod. A $30 antenna will connect an iPod nano with special shoes to provide pedometer functions."
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Apple and Nike Team up for iPod Shoe Interface

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:03PM (#15389647) Homepage Journal
    What would happen if Nike & Apple got together? []

    Below is an email correspondence with customer service representatives at iPOD iD, an on-line service that lets people buy personalized iPOD shoes. The dialog began when iPOD cancelled an order for a pair of shoes customized with the word "sweatshop." [get the latest on this story at]

    From: "Personalize, iPOD iD"
    To: "'W. McFarnby (not really) []'"
    Subject: RE: Your iPOD iD order o16468000

    Your iPOD iD order was cancelled for one or more of the following reasons.

    1) Your Personal iD contains another party's trademark or other intellectual property.
    2) Your Personal iD contains the name of an athlete or team we do not have the legal right to use.
    3) Your Personal iD was left blank. Did you not want any personalization?
    4) Your Personal iD contains profanity or inappropriate slang, and besides, your mother would slap us.

    If you wish to reorder your iPOD iD product with a new personalization please visit us again at
    Thank you,
    iPOD iD

    From: "W. McFarnby (not really) []"
    To: "Personalize, iPOD iD"
    Subject: RE: Your iPOD iD order o16468000


    My order was canceled but my personal iPOD iD does not violate any of the criteria outlined in your message. The Personal iD on my custom ZOOM XC USA running shoes was the word "sweatshop." Sweatshop is not: 1) another's party's trademark, 2) the name of an athlete, 3) blank, or 4) profanity. I choose the iD because I wanted to remember the toil and labor of the children that made my shoes. Could you please ship them to me immediately.

    Thanks and Happy New Year,
    Wynn McF (not really) []

    From: "Personalize, iPOD iD"
    To: "'W. McFarnby (not really) []'"
    Subject: RE: Your iPOD iD order o16468000

    Dear iPOD iD Customer,

    Your iPOD iD order was cancelled because the iD you have chosen contains, as stated in the previous e-mail correspondence, "inappropriate slang".

    If you wish to reorder your iPOD iD product with a new personalization please visit us again at

    Thank you,
    iPOD iD

    From: "W. McFarnby (not really) []"
    To: "Personalize, iPOD iD"
    Subject: RE: Your iPOD iD order o16468000

    Dear iPOD iD,

    Thank you for your quick response to my inquiry about my custom ZOOM XC USA running shoes. Although I commend you for your prompt customer service, I disagree with the claim that my personal iD was inappropriate slang. After consulting Webster's Dictionary, I discovered that "sweatshop" is in fact part of standard English, and not slang. The word means: "a shop or factory in which workers are employed for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions" and its origin dates from 1892. So my personal iD does meet the criteria detailed in your first email.

    Your web site advertises that the iPOD iD program is "about freedom to choose and freedom to express who you are." I share iPOD's love of freedom and personal expression. The site also says that "If you want it done it yourself." I was thrilled to be able to build my own shoes, and my personal iD was offered as a small token of appreciation for the sweatshop workers poised to help me realize my vision. I hope that you will value my freedom of expression and reconsider your decision to reject my order.

    Thank you,
    Wynn McF (not really) []

    From: "Personalize, iPOD iD"
    To: "'W. McFarnby (not really) []'"
    Subject: RE: Your iPOD iD order o16468000

    Dear iPOD iD Customer,

    Regarding the rules for personalization it also states on the iPOD iD web site that "iPOD reserves the right to c
    • Re:Nike+Apple=??? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Aadain2001 ( 684036 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:20PM (#15389775) Journal
      You realize that Nike hasn't run sweatshops for a long time now right? The factories in Asia used to be contracted by Nike to produce shoes, so Nike did not own them. After all the bad PR they moved in and took over the factories and now the people have very nice working conditions and earn a much higher than average wage compared to the rest of the countries over there. If you would like to end sweatshops, try talking to Adidas, Rebook, etc, which still do use sweatshop in Asia.
      • Re:Nike+Apple=??? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chris Burke ( 6130 )
        Interesting. The last time I recall the issue coming up was when Nike was claiming in their advertisements that they had improved conditions for the sweatshop workers and that they were not sweatshops anymore. I remember this because they were sued for false advertising, but the court ruled that while Nike's claims were in fact false, their lie was protected by the 1st Ammendment.

        This was from an article linked by /. a couple years ago, so anything resembling detail is gone. Except the "it's okay for the
      • The distinction is irrelevant. Nike dictates all the terms to the sweatshops that make Nike shoes and they are specifically culpable for their decision to stop doing business in Korea and Taiwan after those sweatshops unionized to seek out cheaper, more exploitative places elsewhere. /nike/ []

        You are regurgitating Nike propoganda, which has been demonstrated to be false. Nike is not responding to bad publicity by addressing the problem, they are responding on
    • Re:Nike+Apple=??? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DeadPrez ( 129998 )
      You should have just changed your name to "child_labor" as that would be a more formal description.
    • by bertramwooster ( 763417 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:47PM (#15389960) Homepage
      Oh. I thought you were going to say Nipple. Never mind.
    • How on EARTH did you manage to get that novel-sized post in as first post? I can't even type FRIST PSTO!!! fast enough to get it, and you're here writing War and Peace... I feel so inadequate.
  • Why? (Score:3, Funny)

    by cephalien ( 529516 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:05PM (#15389663)
    Not to be a prude about this, but what exactly is the point? How much do regular pedometers cost?

    I know I've seen some for less than 30 bucks. Yeah, sure. There's the wow factor

    (hey, lookee at my over-priced Nikes. Did you know I spent 30 bucks more and they can talk to my iPod? -- wow, I've gone to the couch and back six times in the last hour, logging 50 steps!)

    But not much else. I love technology as much as the next person on /., but there's got to be a better use for it.

    • wow, I've gone to the couch and back six times in the last hour, logging 50 steps!

      I love technology as much as the next person on /., but there's got to be a better use for it.

      How about jogging?
    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

      ok, there is actually some cool stuff involved here.

      1) It's not just a pedometer ... if it's anything like the other Nike running gear, it actually uses an accelerometer and some other crazy stuff to figure out how far you're running. Instead of just saying that a single step = X number of feet it tries to figure out how far you really moved your foot.

      2) As others have mentioned, it actually reads the status to you so you don't have to look at your iPod as you run.

      3) Perhaps my favorite: Power Song activat
      • Re:Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @06:11PM (#15390117) Homepage Journal
        What would be very cool is if it would attempt to match the beats per minute of your song to your actual steps per minute, so you could run to music at whatever pace you wanted to. I think iTunes has a BPM field, so you could probably at least have the iPod choose songs that were close to your pace (so you could have different pump-up, running, and cool-down music), but I don't know if you can easily alter the playback speed of an MP3 without altering it's pitch to do exact cadence matching. I wonder if it has enough processor overhead to do on-the-fly resampling.
        • Re:Why? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Xyde ( 415798 )
          The iPod can already do this for audiobooks, i assume it could be done for mp3 as well.
    • I bought a Cat Eye computer for my bike yesterday and now they come out with this. I don't see any reason why someone can't introduce iPod based cycle computers at this point.
      • I bought a Cat Eye computer for my bike yesterday and now they come out with this. I don't see any reason why someone can't introduce iPod based cycle computers at this point.

        Might be that in a lot of places it is illegal to wear headphones while riding a bike (not that it stops people).
    • Why else do you think people jog?
    • I've wondered about combination products like this in the past and I do not see the advantage. Here is an example..
      You can buy a string trimmer (weed whacker) that has a connection at the bottom that allows other sold seperately components to be attached, like a small saw, a lawn edger, a very small almost useless roto-tiller etc.. The problem is the attachments cost very close too and in some cases MORE a dedicated lawn edger, a small useless roto tiller and a small tree saw. I guess the advantage is on
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:07PM (#15389675) Homepage
    Sounds like a neat idea, but I'm waiting for the iPhone + Nike = Shoe Phone.

    "This shoephone holds over 5 billion songs! ...
    Would you believe 10,000 songs and 5,000 ringtones?"
  • This is so going to trap those joggers nearby in their own little worlds. Running in circles all day long, running, running, running.

    So can we at least attach some speakers too so they sound interesting as they jog by?

    On a serious note... why do I have a weird feeling sales on "We are the Champions" are going to go up...
  • by iXiXi ( 659985 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:08PM (#15389687)
    Can you imagine these at the airport?
  • by JudgeFurious ( 455868 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:09PM (#15389696)
    Put your iPod in a clear transparent (and waterproof, just to be safe) case that adds a wireless connector which then uses Bluetooth to talk to your toilet seat. While you pinch a loaf it weighs you, takes your temperature, scans your dump as it passes the "sensor ring", and gives you helpful dietary suggestions along with playing a preset song that you've associated with one of a half-dozen air freshener options.
  • Big feet? (Score:5, Funny)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:10PM (#15389700) Homepage Journal
    Brings new meaning to the question, "You know what they say about men with big feet, don't you?"

    Big hard drives!

    Thank you, I'll be here all week.
  • Brilliant (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:10PM (#15389705)
    For the low low price of 99 cents a mile, you can use these fancy running shoes with built-in music. If you stop paying, they break your legs. The RIAA will love it!

  • by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:13PM (#15389730)
    I mean, they had a pedometer...running 5000 steps with a first-gen iPod would cause the hard drive to fail... :)
  • Boy, when I saw that "Special Shoes" link I thought for sure I was going to see this []!
  • Price too low (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Captain Perspicuous ( 899892 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:14PM (#15389733)
    A supersmall step sensor for your shoe with wireless transmitter, a wireless receiver, iPod integration, timer, text-to-speach interface, "booster song with 1 keypress", recording all your trips and comparing them over the internet, and Apple and Nike behind it - I was expecting that gear to cost at least $50 to $80, and I'm pretty sure the people that are interested would have paid that amount without thinking about it - but only $29? That is one seriously low price. Wow, what happened, are they subsidizing this one or something?

    And if they do, how do they make sure we are buying nike shoes? That step counter can be taped to any shoe, can't it?
    • Re:Price too low (Score:3, Informative)

      by kevinvh ( 652481 )
      Read the fine print on bottom of the "rock n' run page".. it says:

          The sensor's battery is not replaceable. Battery life will vary
          considerably based on use and other factors.

      So the $64M question is, how long does the sensor's battery last?
      This could explain the low price.. $29 may be cheap, but if you're
      buying a new sensor every year, suddenly it's getting expensive.
    • The only ones I see.

      The sensor is meant to integrate in Nike shoes.
      The sensor doesn't have changeable batteries.

      I am sure you can figure out some way to attach to non nikes, unless I read this wrong and ceartian shoes come with embeded sensor.

      Batter is a concern until they tell us how long it lasts. If three years then what the heck...
    • but only $29? That is one seriously low price. Wow, what happened, are they subsidizing this one or something?

      Based on this [] I assume what we have here is an off-the-shelf wireless mouse circuit. When you're running it's doing "click click click click click", and the iPod end might even be the USB connector for the mouse. So, $29 is in the ballpark for a COTS wireless mouse, plus you don't have to build any of the rest of the mouse other than the left-click button. Somebody gets the "elegant, simple" awar
  • by i am kman ( 972584 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:16PM (#15389746)
    And if they really joined forces, they'd need a new name. Hmmmm, let's see, something like: Nike + Apple = Nipple.

    Yeah, I'd definitely buy one of those! Maybe two.
  • no way! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by basic0 ( 182925 ) <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:16PM (#15389748)
    Corporations like Apple and Nike promoting their brands through a synergystic crossover product? Get out of here! Next thing you'll tell me that they're going to get professional athletes and rock stars to promote this thing.
  • Integration (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AAeyers ( 857625 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:20PM (#15389779) Journal
    This must be part of the wireless patents Apple filed for a while back. I would not at all be surprised if this idea of wireless integration gets incorporated into more and more things. Imagine if you could carry your ipod with you all day and have it work automatically with your home stereo, shoes, car, etc. The ipod could become much more than an mp3 player, and could help collect data (pedometer, etc) and stream music to different sources automatically.

    This seems like exactly the thing Jobs and Apple would pursue, a seamless system of wireless integration would perfectly embody their philosophies of style, power, simplicity, and having things 'just work'. It may be just a new shoe accessory right now, but I for one could see this type of technology evolving into new areas
  • by MBraynard ( 653724 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:21PM (#15389781) Journal
    Pedometers do not cut it for distance measurement. Almost everyone uses a GPS unit these days. Interestingly enough, the only company still pushing a pedometer-driven system these days is Nike. At SOME point they are going to get on the GPS bandwagon but I'm uncertain why they are taking so long to get 'cutting edge in this area.'

    OT - That banner ad for Crystal Reports just brought my computer to a crawl.

    • by cheinonen ( 318646 ) <cheinonen@hotmai l . c om> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:28PM (#15389840)
      To myself, who I'd consider to be a reasonably serious athlete, I prefer the food pods to GPS for a few reasons. They're typically smaller, but most importantly, they aren't automatically destroyed by large buildings or tree cover. Living in areas where I would run on trails surrounded by large trees, or in downtown with large buildings, I would constantly lose GPS signals and so my distance, pace, and maps of my runs would be way off in areas. The foot pods can be calibrated by you on a track to make them accurate to your stride, and are +/- 1% after doing that typically, which is better than my GPS was by far. Now they have downsides as well (elevation gain typically isn't measured), but they're better than losing signal for some of us.
      • Do you think that this is the same as the inertial foot pods? I hesitate to say so. The initial pods from Polar are about $150. The HRM Watch + footpod from Nike is over $300.

        If this is an inertial pod-- or merely a transmitter for one embedded into the shoe -- then it's a fantastic deal (depending on the cost of the shoe). The quoted price is only $29. If it's just a pedometer, then it's pretty useless.

        I always that that it would be great to integrate HRM and iPod. Spoken stats (easier than trying to read
    • I've got a Garmin Forerunner [].

      Love it.

      Absolutely useless when I train in the winter on my treadmill...

      I *will* be looking into this bit of kit, thank you very much.
      • Yeah, because your treamill can't tell you exactly how far/fast you are going.
        • Ever done intervals?

          Ever want to compare interval workouts?

          Doing this with data collected from my Forerunner is pretty easy.

          Doing it with data from a treadmill... not so easy.

          I'm not interested in one after-the-fact average value. I want data... lots and lots of data!

          If this thing can give me time based velocity data, I'm all over it.

          Since it is using an accelerometer... if it could give me time marks for each "step"... that would be ideal. I'll manipulate that kind of data myself to come up with everything
    • Serious runners don't wear Nikes anyways. Their main audience are people who want to wear "running" shoes with their jeans, not people running 20+ miles per week.
      • No, actually, I have tried many brands and for me, Nike's the very best. Countless races, including 4 marathons and an Ironman. And try 50+ miles per week, thanks.

        Right now I do most runs in 2:40s and have two pair of discontinued Air Zoom spiridons (one for tris, one for road races).

  • Sync Capabilities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AgentOJ ( 320270 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:26PM (#15389824)
    Looking at the links on Apple's site, it shows that the run data can also be synced with your computer once you get back from the run. The data includes stuff like speed, distance, calories burned, etc, so you can see your progress over a length of time. As a former cross country and track runner, this is the kind of information that we had to calculate manually (well, at least record the numbers and then crunch them) to get an overall view of our progress and goals. Also, it would be cool to have since I'd already be bringing my iPod on a run, and wouldn't need to bring a seperate electronic pedometer along (and I'd be willing to be the electronic pedometers out there that track the same information and sync with a computer don't work with Macs).
    • I’ve long envisioned a system where the armband I wear at the gym has sensors woven into it that connect to the iPod. It would take my pulse and blood pressure and have the iPod speak the important numbers and stats to me over the headphones.

  • That won't short out when you do the swimming portion.

    And, has anyone thought of having it make your shoes shuffle when you set the iPod on "shuffle"?

    Nike: Just Do It But First Pay Money

    Seriously, though, as a former marathon runner (2 hr 29 minutes back when the world record was 2 hr 14 minutes), I question the practical utility of an integrated shoe to iPod link - sure, it's nice to know your approximate pedometer rating, but in reality that is not a real number, only an estimation based on your running s
  • I would have to wait until New Balance comes out with one. A 13 4D Wide is kinda of hard to come by.
  • At first this sounded absolutely retarded to me.. then after thinking about it I saw potential uses. If the iPod can be smart enough to see when you start to slow down, or where your "problem areas" are when jogging compared to previous runs (I don't jog, so who knows if these things exist) if it can modify your random selections to play something with faster tempo, it might be worthwhile.. likewise if it can slow things down on your cool down..
  • by LaughingElk ( 139664 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:45PM (#15389944) will become known as "The sole that times men's tries".

  • "The original location for the player holster had to be moved when testers kept referring to it as the 'iPud.' "
  • by Udo Schmitz ( 738216 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @05:53PM (#15390012) Journal
    Says the BBC []: "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."

    Cool. That means as of 13 April, 2005 only in 40% of the factories used by Nike workers face a lack of basic terms of employment and excessive hours of work, unauthorised sub-contracting, confirmed physical or sexual abuse and the existence of conditions which could lead to death or serious injury. I'm off to by a pair of Nikes.
    Seriously, this is the first major goof since Steve Jobs came back to Apple.

    • How does a quarter of factories equal 40%?

      Now, while I agree that the sweatshops of the kind used by almost every overseas manufacturer is despicable, your twisting of the argument by fudging the numbers doesn't help your case. Remember, "C" is considered an average rating. If 60% of their factories are above average, thats pretty good. And only 25% fall into the "serious problems" category. That means that 15% are in the average range. If anything, Nike should be commended for making such a turn-around fro
  • Kind of disappointing, I was expecting a shoe-based charger. _That_ would be something I would buy. Charging your phone/iPod etc, while you walk.

    I looked into it a few years back, and it seemed to me that there was enough energy there to do something with.
  • While I find this particular application to be uninteresting,I do think that it's opening an interesting door for the iPod as a wireless data collection device.

    Will Apple sell iPods to meter readers for gathering gas and water use info?

    What other opportunites exist for mobile data collection?
  • I've been running for about five years now (competitively and otherwise) and almost every pair of shoes I've owned, whether they were for training or competition have come from Adidas. Same thing with a lot of the people I run with. Adidas just makes good shoes without lots of flash and hype. If Apple had partnered with Adidas I'd at least be considering getting this, it sounds interesting. Of course, one of the reasons Apple chose Nike for this was because of all the hype and flash and recognition they bri
  • Am I the only one that pictured someone listening to their shoe immediately after reading the headline? (ala Get Smart [] )
  • I'm currently running 55km each week. I usually carry:

    • Keys
    • some money (in case I break down and need a cap, happened once)
    • iPod nano (for listening to music and language courses)
    • Garmin Forerunner 301 [] with GPS and heart rate monitor

    I love the Garmin (worn like a wrist watch, but makes a Casio GShock look tiny), but hate the fact that GPS and large buildings do not really match. Living in Berlin there is no way to avoid them without getting out of town first. I always run the same route and the

  • hopefully it will handle each shoe as a unique id and your ipod will know which shoes are yours, otherwise running in groups could be interesting- or even running past someone else.
  • Just do iT
  • It appears that if I put MP3 player hardware in random everyday objects, there are plenty of people who would buy them.

    Shoes, cell phones, PDAs are taken, how about underwear? Lingerie? Things that are commonly inserted into body cavities? Keychains? Sunglasses? Scarves? Things people put in their hair to hold it in place or as decoration? Sweatbands? Bracelets or anklets?

    Hell, put them in fruits and vegetables, bags of junk food, suppositories of various kinds, nicotine patches, beverage containers...


  • USA: Iped?
    France: Ipied
    Italia: Ipiede

    I should be in marketing.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.