May 24, 2006 Nike and Apple have announced a partnership designed to bring the worlds of sport and music together with the launch of innovative Nike+iPod products. The first product developed through this partnership is the Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that allows Nike+ footwear to record time, distance, calories burned and pace with info displayed on the iPod nano screen and real-time audio feedback through headphones. The new Nike+ Air Zoom Moire is the first footwear designed to talk to the iPod and Nike plans to make its other footwear styles Nike+ ready too. It’s simple and in our opinion gives you scant info you can’t get better another way – it’s just an in-shoe sensor and a receiver that attaches to the iPod. While we think the first product is a bit lame, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Apple, the most consistently innovative company of the last 25 years, and Nike combine technologies with the reach of both companies. With two such innovative parents, we suspect some interesting children will be spawned. Our educated guesses at what they would logically be evaluating as potential products might include new capabilities such as a heart rate monitor to make the 24 hour a day calorie counter more accurate and to enable other useful data to be monitored, GPS functionality for additional info on position and speed and so we can be notified when we’re passing points of interest and hear a podcast about them should we choose, a blood oxygenation and lactose monitor for people who run really long distances, … oh, and maybe a cool Nike cap with a little heads up display incorporated so we can watch video podcasts without headbutting a lamppost.
The announcements included a new Nike Sport Music section on Apple’s iTunes Music Store and a new nikeplus.com personal service site designed to help you achieve the optimum Nike+iPod personal running and workout experience.
Nike CEO Mark Parker and Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled Nike+iPod at an event in New York attended by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe.
“Nike+iPod is a partnership between two iconic, global brands with a shared passion for creating meaningful consumer product experiences through design and innovation,” Parker said. “This is the first result, and Nike+iPod will change the way people run. Nike+iPod creates a better running experience. We see many more such Nike+ innovations in the future.”
"We're working with Nike to take music and sport to a new level," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The result is like having a personal coach or training partner motivating you every step of your workout."
Armstrong, who is preparing for his first NY Marathon, said, “If you can incorporate time, distance and calories burned together and make it function for both the fitness runner and the high level athlete, it will take working out to a whole other level.”
“I definitely use music both ways,” Radcliffe said. “I listen to faster music if I am doing a workout in the gym to just get the best out of myself, but I also use it to help me relax in the buildup to a big race.”
Specially designed Nike apparel, including jackets, tops, shorts and an iPod nano armband, bring together the Nike+iPod experience with waterproof pockets that accommodate iPod nano and are designed to make it easy to operate while staying tuned to your music during an active workout.
Pricing & Availability
The Nike+iPod Sport Kit is expected to be available within 60 days for a suggested retail price of US$29 through Apple and Nike.
The Nike+iPod Sport Kit requires a Nike+ shoe and a iPod nano with Mac with a USB 2.0 and Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later and iTunes 6.0.5; or a Windows PC with a USB 2.0 port and Windows 2000, XP Home or Professional (SP2) and iTunes 6.0.5.