I am a runner. At least five times per week, I get up at an incredibly stupid hour and run several miles through the dark, quiet streets where I live. It’s just a thing I do; the one piece of order in an otherwise chaotic existence. Also, I get some of my best ideas through oxygen deprivation. (Some might say that all of my ideas seem to come from a place of obvious oxygen deprivation.)
Like the vast majority of runners, I listen to music when I run, and I also listen to the radio. I own an Nano (which I don’t use for running because they refuse to build in a radio receiver), and I certainly don’t have any animosity towards Nike, whose shoes I wore for several years. As a matter of fact, in just about every way, I would seem to be the target audience for the Nike+iPod Sports kit.
So why am I not more excited about it? Is it just because you’ll separate me from my New Balances when you pull them from my cold, dead feet? Or is it something else?
The Nike+iPod Sports Kit — I’m gonna call it the “NiPod” — is Nike’s first attempt at creating a “smart shoe,” a shoe that uses some kind of technological gee-gaw to improve the excercise experience. Last year, Adidas put out a shoe that supposedly adjusted its cushioning at, ahem, runtime. Nike & Apple are going a different route.
Using a Nike+iPod Sports Kit, expected to sell for about $29, miniature versions of the iPod will be able to give audio data on time, distance, pace and calories burned on-demand through an attachable receiver that gets data from a sensor in the insole of special Nike shoes.
This is smart: the little transmission doo-dad (the official name) isn’t built into the shoe, which means that you’ll be able to transfer it from shoe to shoe to shoe — all Nikes, natch — as you buy your new ones every six months or so.
Oh, and BTW, in case you wanna who is Frodo and who is Samwise in this particular friendship, ignore the stock prices and focus on this tidbit, buried near the end (where Kirk always discovers the real story):
The connector kit will be available in both Nike and Apple stores within two months, the companies said, adding that Nike will also sell nano iPods, but Apple will not sell Nike shoes.
That marketing arrangement was obviously the result of a golf bet that Phil Knight lost to Steve Jobs during the yearly conference on Illuminati Island.
In any event, I kind of wonder what the audio will sound like. What kind of voice? What kind of persona? Is it just the data, or will there be some kind of excercise videoish exhortation? There are so many different ways that this could go . . .
- Time Lady: “At the tone, the time of your workout will be one hour, five minutes and 30 seconds. BONG! At the tone, the time of your workout will be one hour, five minutes and 40 seconds. BONG!!!”
- Drill Sergeant: “One hour five minutes and 30 seconds!! You are a fucking wuss!! My grandmother could run for that long!! And she’s been dead for 60 years!! One hour five minutes and 40 seconds!! I have never ever seen such a pathetic miserable excuse for a human being in all of my life!!”
- Movie Trailer Guy: “In a world where sloth rules, and coutch potatoes dominate our society, one man has run for one hour, five minutes and 30 seconds. In a world where no one values individual accomplishment, one man has run for one hour, five minutes and 40 seconds.”
- Phone Sex Chick: “I love it when you are so sweaty. You have now kept it up for one hour, five minutes and 30 seconds. Just keep pounding the pavement, pounding, pounding, pounding, Oh yes! Oh yes! You have now been doing it for one hour, five minutes and 40 seconds! Oh keep going, don’t stop now don’t stop now!!”
But here’s my main problem: since iPod controls are menu-based, I would totally have to look down at the screen to switch from a song to the audio data.
That’s a deal-breaker. No way I want to be focusing on getting to the NiPod audio in mid-stride when I should be looking out for deer, coyotes and that lady in the red Saturn who drives 80mph down Kenneth every morning. She doesn’t realize it, but she’s my mortal enemy. I could just see me fiddling with my NiPod at the wrong time to check speed or pace or calorie burn and suddenly splat!!
Sure, that would slow her down, but I don’t want my last thought to be “goddammit, I could have slept in all those years!!”
So I’m out. Call me when Prism DuroSport does a knock off.