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Apple exploring fitness training, sales iPhone app with social elements

post #1 of 18
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Apple has shown interest in creating a digital personal trainer for the iPhone, letting people know when they should go to the gym, what exercises they should do, what they should eat, and even allowing users to compete with their friends and be ranked on their performance.

Apple's potential plans for a "full fitness experience" on the iPhone were revealed this week in a newly published patent application entitled "Systems and Methods for Accessing Personalized Fitness Services Using a Portable Electronic Device." Discovered by AppleInsider, the described software would see Apple partner with local fitness centers and sell memberships and workout equipment through the application.

The described software would accomplish a multitude of fitness-related goals, including finding the nearest gym, determining when an upcoming workout class is scheduled, charting fitness performance and goals, tracking calories consumed, and detailing how to perform certain workouts. Services would be broken into four categories: "New Customers," "Getting There," "In the Gym," and "Post Workout."

Apple's fitness application would also have a social element in the form of a leaderboard, allowing users to compare themselves with their friends and engage in a bit of healthy competition. In one example, the user is notified on their iPhone that "Amanda just ran 1 mile in 6:34 minutes! Can you beat that?" Friends can also use the software to invite one another to go to the gym.

Upon launching the fitness application, new customers would be able to view a list of local health centers and gyms. Here, they would be able to view available classes, services and promotions at each location, and compare options before choosing to enroll via the iPhone.



Once a gym is selected, users can obtain news and updates through the application, including special promotions. Potential "upsells" include advanced classes and personal trainers, workout programs and videos, and how-to guides for equipment.

The application could even drive sales on the iTunes Store, with one proposed revenue creating element selling customers music playlists from standardized group workout classes.

Apple could also partner with other companies to take a cut of "affiliate offers" provided through the iPhone software. The patent application notes that products such as workout attire, exercise equipment, power drinks, power bars and other popular items with gym rats would be ideal to sell to users.



A big part of Apple's proposed invention is motivation. In addition to the social competition element, the software would provide incentives to users who meet their workout goals, in the form of coupons or free gifts.

And for those who aren't so strict about going to the gym, the application will also serve users reminders that they are not meeting their schedule. These notifications would include quick links for services like booking a training session or adding a workout session to the user's calendar.

The proposed invention, made public this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was first filed in October of 2009. It is credited to Stanley Carl Ng and Michael Hailey.



Apple has consistently shown interest in fitness through its patent filings with the USPTO. Just last year, the company's interest in a "virtual competitor" for fitness enthusiasts was revealed. Such a program would provide new sources of motivation in an effort to push athletes farther.

Since 2006, Apple has also worked closely with Nike to bring a range of fitness-related products and services to its iPod and iPhone devices. The "Nike +" software even comes built in to the iPhone, allowing runners to track their speed and distance with a separately sold pedometer.
post #2 of 18
Oh and using your location, gathered from your iPhone, it could take into account your local weather ... oh wait a minute ...
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
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post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has consistently shown interest in fitness through its patent filings with the USPTO. Just last year, the company's interest in a "virtual competitor" for fitness enthusiasts was revealed. Such a program would provide new sources of motivation in an effort to push athletes farther.

I hope they start to show as much interest in education as they do in fitness. The iPad and iPhone have the potential to be great assets to education.
post #4 of 18
I know most people don't care about this stuff, but anything that makes staying in shape easier and more interesting is welcome in my life. The ranking element is fun and I love how Apple is creating yet another "skim off the top" revenue stream.

I wonder how this might work into AR app development? Hopefully that the technology is designed for a range of sports applications beyond the gym. I work indoors all day and I'd prefer not doing something as repetitive as reps on a machine when I can. It would be good to see Apple open the tech up to other sports specific developers. That ability would surely make this tech the "gold standard" if you will, especially with so much tech in the iPhone. I'm still impressed with the accurateness of the GPS on iPhone 4 for instance. Even on the mountains.
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turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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post #5 of 18
This seems odd, I would leave this to the iOS dev community. It almost seems like they are testing some waters.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Oh and using your location, gathered from your iPhone, it could take into account your local weather ... oh wait a minute ...





Quote:
Originally Posted by Yelmurc View Post

I hope they start to show as much interest in education as they do in fitness. The iPad and iPhone have the potential to be great assets to education.

Are you kidding? Have you not seen the "Apple helps kids with special needs promotions" (my shorthand phrasing) along with a slew of other everyday educational "ads"?
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

This seems odd, I would leave this to the iOS dev community. It almost seems like they are testing some waters.

Something this massive would take setting up deals with tons of companies and that's something the common developer would find hard to achieve. So it makes sense that Apple would do it themselves

Plus even if they don't, if they get a patent on it then whoever does do it has to pay them a licensing fee. Say someone doing it for Android etc.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #8 of 18
Can anyone actually work out what part of this actually a new invention? As far as I can its no different to a lot of existing apps but with coupons for motivation.
post #9 of 18
Could be a good app with the might of apple behind it, but most of this has already been done on existing apps on both in aap store and android market (except making comparisons of class times, booking in to classes - as far as I know).

Some of the features are only available throught the app makers website, but they are in the process of migrating these features to the app. I cant see a patent being awarded on this.
post #10 of 18
Nike is a great brand for Apple, competition is working in the App Store, and this would be a good opportunity for Apple to take Nike+ up a few notches.

I loved Nike+ when it came out a few years ago, but I think RunKeeper Pro and a few others actually do a better job now of tracking run/bike/swim workouts and integrating an app, web site, and social networking functions.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple has shown interest in creating a digital personal trainer for the iPhone, ...

This illuminates one of the few things I can't stand about Apple. They are all obsessively crazy for fitness and training. I like being healthy and fit, but the deep obsession with it that many of their employees and management have is far from healthy.

It's certainly no surprise that Nike and Apple work together so closely.
post #12 of 18
LOL I emailed Steve and advise to have great foods and less stress.
post #13 of 18
I had hoped Apple or a 3rd party App would create a thoroughly comprehensive fitness app that accessed *actual* equipment in my gym with easy/accurate/helpful workout/food/fitness data tracking. I have used iFitness and ActivTrax mobile in the past---both are OK--but only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what could be created.
post #14 of 18
While not all that much of a fitness enthusiast, I would love to see an iPad app like this if it included turn-by-turn GPS navigation for cycling. Can't find anything with that right now allowing me to avoid highways/gravitate to bike paths. Come on Apple, please please please please please!
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Hey, this Kool-Aid is delicious, what do you put in it?!
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post #15 of 18
Tim Cook's influence?

Also, gotta love how they misspelled "strength" in one of the graphics.
post #16 of 18
This would be a great place for Kiip type ads. For example, as you reach your goal of loosing ten pounds, you will get a free $10 amazon card to buy new t-shirt for slimmer you. Is a bad example, but you get what I am saying. Good motivation, good for advertisers and good for iAd.
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--SHEFFmachine out
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post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by timgriff84 View Post

Can anyone actually work out what part of this actually a new invention? As far as I can its no different to a lot of existing apps but with coupons for motivation.

Novelty lies not just in the parts, but also in how they are put together.
post #18 of 18
How is this patentable? Copyright, yes, but if Apple can get a patent for this, what app is not patentable? I'm going to patent my idea for a Fart Management system. No one has patented that yet.

Crazy.
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