Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Apple vs Runners

Nike+ is an interesting product for a lot of reasons. But it's frustrating. The system is closed: you need Nike shoes and an iPod. You're steered to the Flash-heavy Nike+ community site. The Sportband was a way to get around needing the iPod, although it broke when I ran with it in the rain and wasn't all that accurate to begin with. The shoe requirement was always a myth. There are pouches and other things you can use on your Asics, Brooks or whatever sneaker you want. (When I went to the Nike store in Manhattan, the salesman insisted it was impossible to use without Nike shoes. Nike should either train employees better or encourage them not to lie.) Now comes word from a Twitter friend, via GeekSugar, that Apple has filed a patent to make it illegal to put the Nike+ sensor in other shoes. Why does Apple care about this? Its filing presents the gravity of the situation.
Some people have taken it upon themselves to remove the sensor from the special pocket of the Nike+.TM. shoe and place it at inappropriate locations (shoelaces, for example) or place it on non-Nike+.TM. model shoes.
Heavens. This is very ironic to me because Apple (and obviously Nike) has a huge consumer base of runners with those earbuds dangling. What does it say about the company that it's willing to give them the middle finger because they want to use Nike+ differently? And yes, this again makes Nike look bad that it's partner is cracking down on people who won't completely give themselves over to Nike merchandise.

A side note: I'm officially worn out. I haven't been getting enough sleep, and it's caught up with me. I woke up groggy with a sore throat and Achilles tenderness, then had a forgettable recovery run. The schedule calls for another this evening. Don't think that will happen.

5 miles, 39:23


Danny said...

I was a long-time Nike+ user. Was even flown out to Portland for a chat with the Nike crew. But I haven't used it in about a year. As soon as I realized how inaccurate it was, I was done. I think they've nailed the user interface (more functionality could be added to the flash site easily, if they so desired). Good on RGA for that one. But the device itself leaves a LOT to be desired. Unfortunately, so does the Garmin I replaced it with. So far, I haven't found anything that does the job well.

Anonymous said...

you know, the irony of the flash-heavy site never struck me til now. Why not have an interface that someone can access using an iPhone?