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Apple details next-gen Nike+ system with GPS, wear sensors

post #1 of 32
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A new filing from Apple describes a future generation Nike+ system that would be capable of more accurately monitoring athletic performance in real-time, providing feedback on wear of athletic gear, and even conveying advertisements from establishments that an athlete passes during a workout.

More Accurate Comparisons

More specifically, the system aims to more precisely track a runners performance over a period of time by factoring in various physical characteristics of the runner, such as age, weight, and gender, which could then be used to evaluate the runner's performance against a reference performance typical of a person having similar physical characteristics.

"In this way, a user could gauge his or her own athletic prowess and abilities against an accepted reference and be able to determine, for example, the performance percentile he or she falls in relation to his or her particular cohort of runners," Apple said. "In addition, it would be beneficial to be able to correlate a user's performance to particular garments (running time vs. a particular shoe or shoe design) as well as tracking shoe characteristics (such as wear) over time or distance used."

Wear and Shoe Performance

The Nike+ sensor would provide notification to a user that a particular garment has reached an expected useful lifetime based upon any number of factors, such as, an amount of time that the garment has been used, or the amount of wear detected by the sensor.

"For example, in many cases, a runner will not notice that a running shoe has been worn down to the point where crucial support (arch support, for example) has eroded thereby increasing the likelihood of injury," Apple explained. "In this way, by providing a notification that one or both of the running shoes should be replaced, the runner may be better able to avoid injuries related to outworn equipment."

To facilitate these functions, a next-generation Nike+ shoe could include force sensing units placed in shoe sole at three separate points: the heel, midsole, and toe. Each would periodically record impact force sensing data that could be used to characterize a user's running style in real time.

For example, by comparing the relative forces of impact and the temporal relationship between the occurrence of the forces of impact, a user's stride can be characterized as either a toe plant type stride or a heel plant type stride where a user's stride can be defined as an amount of time between consecutive toe, heel, or mid-sole impacts for a particular shoe, the filing explains. Taken over a number of strides, a user's running style profile could be developed that provides a characterization of the user's overall running style.



"Since, a runner's stride and stride type can vary over the course of a run (a sprint typically uses more of a toe plant style whereas a power walker would use more of a heel plant style), a user's running style profile can also vary over the course of the run (as well as well as over the course or months or years, or as the running shoes wear, or between different, but authorized, running shoes)," Apple said. "Therefore, in order to more accurately gauge a user's overall running style, a user's average running style can be calculated. In some cases, the user's average running style is accumulated from a number of previous runs using the same running shoe or can incorporate average running styles from different (but authorized) running shoes, if desired. In this way, a user has the ability to compare running styles and/or performance not only from one run to another, but from one running shoe to another, or merely deduce an overall running style regardless of the running shoe used."

GPS Support

One of the sensors employed by the running shoes could also include location-sensing devices (such as a GPS receiver) that provide velocity and location data to a processor unit that can be coupled to a database having information such as physical characteristic data such as weight, age, and gender, according to the filing. The database can then, in turn, provide an updated readout to a display unit of the user's ongoing athletic performance statistics. Such statistics can include elevation gain, speed, heading, elevation, calories burned, anticipated calories burned (based upon a pre-selected course), and others.

In addition, the sensor can be coupled to a distributed network of computers, such as the Internet, by way of a wireless device or in some cases as part of a peer-to-peer type arrangement of like wireless sensors or other wireless devices. In this way, the user would be able to download selected data (such as other athlete's performance data, selected courses, training programs, etc.) allowing the user to be part of a virtual community of athletes that can interact with each other in real time or virtually. In some embodiments, Apple said the sensor can optionally include one or more dead reckoning devices to provide direction information or change of location information. Such dead reckoning devices can include altimeters, accelerometers, cadence measurements sensors and the like.

In running shoes that include a GPS receiver, built-in memory would be able to store in addition to selected data such as measured user performance metrics, local elevation data in digital elevation model database in the form of DEM data. In addition, the memory could store local points of interest (such as restaurants, rest stops, parks, shops, etc.) that can be updated by the user or downloaded from external circuitry.



DEM data would serve to improve the accuracy of the GPS elevation and speed measurements as well as to improve the tolerance of sensors to satellite blockage. Meanwhile, the sensor's processor can be configured to calculate carrier-wave Doppler-shift based user velocity based upon data received from the GPS receiver and DEM database and calculate selected athletic performance feedback data using the calculated user velocity and other data such as the elevation profile and the user physical characteristics.

Apple noted that the use of Doppler based velocity measurements gives accuracies in the range of 0.1 mph in typical GPS receivers, which is the highest accuracy typically required for useful assessment of athletic activities.

"In this way, an extensive database of pertinent garment data can be stored and made available for the user and any other interested party such as a manufacturer interested in garment wear patterns, a user interested in correlating specific garment design to user performance statistics as would be the case with running shoes and run times," the company said. "Such data can include specific performance data (number of hours of use from time of purchase, for example) and any other data deemed appropriate. It should be noted that there could be a one-to-one correspondence between a particular garment and a particular tag identifier at a time. However, at any time, a particular tag identifier can be re-assigned to any other garment simply by removing the identification module associated with the particular tag identifier from one garment and placing it onto or in another garment."

Location Info and Advertisements

In addition to providing physiologic data, built-in sensors would be capable of providing indications of nearby locations of interest. For example, when sensor incorporates real time location technology (such as GPS), it can periodically check for nearby points of interest (included in a DEM database in the case of a GPS enabled system) provided, in some cases, by the user and in other cases by a workout template specific for the area in which the user plans to exercise.



"For example, in a GPS based system, prior to a workout, the user can download a list of preferred establishments (restrooms, restaurants, etc.) to the DEM database specific for the area in which the user plans to exercise (local parks, bike routes, jogging trails, etc)," Apple explained. "When the user approaches one of the points of interest (restaurant, for example) while exercising, a sensor can issue notification that the user is within a pre-determined distance of the nearby point of interest thereby providing the user the option to stop or continue the planned excursion unabated. Moreover, the nearby point of interest (i.e., restaurant) can also push information to the user by, for example, displaying advertisements in addition to the notification that the user is within the pre-determined distance."

The 20-page filing is credited to Apple employees Brett Alten and Robert Borchers.
post #2 of 32
It sure seems like many of these features are not customer-centric, but rather company-centric. Notification that your shoe/garment has worn down? This is like the notifications from ink cartridges that if you ignore, you get another 25% out of them. I'm sure only approved Nike products will be suggested. The GPS will probably notify you of local advertisers, like your Nike store. Is anyone asking for this feature? Who wants to be diverted to a store, POI, etc. during a run?
post #3 of 32
This has a "Minority Report" like creepiness to it. Is our future really going to be driven by advertisers? The original Nike+ system was simple enough in intent -- track exercise from a (relatively) shoe-agnostic device. Now, instead of a "power song", you'll get something like "You've burned 300 calories, and could use rehydration; wouldn't a blue-ice Powerade taste great right now? Pick one up 200m ahead on your right at McDonalds. McDonalds. I'm Lovin' it.
Further integration of shoe and sensor means less choice for the consumer -- if fifteen gazillion sensors are required to measure "shoe deterioration", the system won't be as simple as threading the transmitter through your laces...
Perhaps the most ominous idea is that of "preferred establishments". This may be presented under the guise of "user preferred", and allow choice of "public restrooms, restaurants", but does anyone find it creepy that the only available locations will likely be those which have paid some sort of tithing to Apple et al?
All I can do is use my consumer choice is being used more and more to NOT support this kind of "integrated ease of use" that really means sole-source consumption from approved vendors. I wish others would think of the long term consequences, too.
post #4 of 32
Ok... so you're going to:

1) Thrust advertising on me when I'm out for a run
2) Tell me when I need to give you more money (for new shoes)
3) Tell everyone around me on the same network how fat and slow I am

But you're STILL not going to tell me my heart rate?! You know... something that would actually be USEFUL to me as a runner as opposed to useful to YOU as a money-hungry multi-national corporation. No thanks Nike.

And as a side note... I LOVE how Nike forced every runner in their "Human Race" last weekend to wear a red Nike t-shirt. The bib numbers were screened right onto the shirts... so you HAD to wear a shirt to participate. So the run was essentially nothing more than a massive, world-wide moving Nike billboard. Needless to say, I did NOT participate. No thanks. I did my regular run, with my friends, on my own route, with cheap generic MEC clothing... and the data collected from my run was shared with ONE person... me.
post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

But you're STILL not going to tell me my heart rate?! You know... something that would actually be USEFUL to me as a runner as opposed to useful to YOU as a money-hungry multi-national corporation. No thanks Nike.

So...you want them to be able to detect your heart rate through your feet?

If you want a heart rate monitor, and this is just a suggestion, GO AND BUY A HEART RATE MONITOR!!!
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post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc OSX View Post

If you want a heart rate monitor, and this is just a suggestion, GO AND BUY A HEART RATE MONITOR!!!

I beg your pardon? Every single speed / distance system on the market EXCEPT Nike+ offers a HRM strap as an option. The point is, the most obvious, useful and simple thing they could add to the system is the one thing they are NOT adding. Instead they are adding a bunch of useless and invasive marketing gimmicks. And you know what... maybe I don't want to go out for a run with two or three watches strapped to my wrist and two completely separate systems for logging that info with no way to chart or compare the two. Thanks for the suggestion tho'. Very helpful.
post #7 of 32
Wow. Chill.

this is a patent application. It's not event remotely indicative that this is a suggested product that Apple is producing - in fact, I seriously doubt it because it's very un-Apple like.

I had a quick play with the Nike+ app on the iPod Touch and it's really, really slick.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Every single speed / distance system on the market EXCEPT Nike+ offers a HRM strap as an option.

Which is why it would be completely pointless to include the concept in a patent application.
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

I beg your pardon? Every single speed / distance system on the market EXCEPT Nike+ offers a HRM strap as an option. The point is, the most obvious, useful and simple thing they could add to the system is the one thing they are NOT adding. Instead they are adding a bunch of useless and invasive marketing gimmicks. And you know what... maybe I don't want to go out for a run with two or three watches strapped to my wrist and two completely separate systems for logging that info with no way to chart or compare the two. Thanks for the suggestion tho'. Very helpful.

You can't compare iPod with other 'speed/distance' systems. My point was that it's a bit unfair to complain that a music player doesn't know what your heart rate is.

Besides, when have you ever known Apple to give people the 'obvious, useful' stuff.
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post #10 of 32
Anyone have sales numbers for the Nike system??? It just seemed like an eccentricity a small group of people would buy - yet we see so much research and promo going into it...
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc OSX View Post

So...you want them to be able to detect your heart rate through your feet?

If you want a heart rate monitor, and this is just a suggestion, GO AND BUY A HEART RATE MONITOR!!!

I think the idea was that Apple would be well served to cater to the USER once in a while, other than its collaborative marketing partners. There was rumor a while back of designing Nike+ into other workout equipment, which would be a nice mix of cross-marketing and user-assisting integration.
I love Apple (Computer), but am unceasingly amazed at how people get so excited over re-warmed products.

Shake to shuffle? New, less obtrusive WiFi antenna? Jack-Fricking-Johnson?? This stuff doesn't warrant a huge media affair.

Apple has spread itself too thin across many markets, and is releasing products too quickly. Perhaps I'm a dying breed, but Apple's "do it slowly, do it right" strategy is what was most differentiating from the wintel side of the world. Now, Apple seems to be riding its elitist image momentum and pandering to the multicolored desires of tweens instead of selling top-notch computers.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by stonybrookadam View Post

I think the idea was that Apple would be well served to cater to the USER once in a while, other than its collaborative marketing partners. There was rumor a while back of designing Nike+ into other workout equipment, which would be a nice mix of cross-marketing and user-assisting integration.

Apple consistently caters to the user--that's why so many of us are using their products. Almost everything in the OS is focused on the user. Almost everything on the iPhone is focused on the user. I never thought I would see this sort of accusation leveled against them. I'd sing a different tune if they delivered a Nike+ that forced you to listen to advertisements, but I just don't see that happening. Just another patent.
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post #13 of 32
According to Fig. 5, I am predicting that the next iPod will be oval and have an oval scroll wheel.

Also, Apple will bring back the original Bondi iMac with a CRT display.
post #14 of 32
This is why I love technology. From this i can see even more ways that it can integrate into and assist with your workout. I'd love to have a more complex system that will take my age, height, weight, and sex into consideration when I workout. It could monitor my heart rate, duration of workout and perhaps even estimate other aspects so it knows how to push me.

For instance, training for a marathon is highly scientific. You don't just run everyday until you can eventually hit 26.2 miles at one time. But outside the science of it you have to take the runner into consideration. While nice an easy task, it's possible for a system to be automated. It can know when your HRM is dangerously high or know when you are getting worn out so it can change a song to a faster tempo or even audibly give you positive reinforcements to keep going another 50M like a trainer would you in other ways, Mickey from the movie Rocky "You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!", just to get the best from your workout.

They could even make shirts whose fibers tighten and loosen to breath more or less depending on the outside temperatures compared to your temperature. They could get an estimate of your water and electrolyte loss through your skin. Since an armband is wrapped around your arm there is potential to get even more advanced ways to monitor your vitals to make sure you are not only healthy, but are getting the most from your workout.

Future applications of the Nike+ desktop software could would like Apple's new Genius setting in iTunes. If you kept track or your diet in their app and had Nike keep track or your workouts it may eventually be able to get an idea of what fuel is best for your overall health. When computed with a million other people anonymously it may be able to make suggestions the will improve your performance. (this was just a brainstorm and I expect none of these to come true in the foreseeable future)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

I beg your pardon? Every single speed / distance system on the market EXCEPT Nike+ offers a HRM strap as an option. The point is, the most obvious, useful and simple thing they could add to the system is the one thing they are NOT adding. Instead they are adding a bunch of useless and invasive marketing gimmicks. And you know what... maybe I don't want to go out for a run with two or three watches strapped to my wrist and two completely separate systems for logging that info with no way to chart or compare the two. Thanks for the suggestion tho'. Very helpful.

I agree that something this complex from should have a HRM as standard, but this is a patent, not a sketch of a final design. Since HRMs are common i see no reason why Apple would add it to the patent.
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post #15 of 32
Not a fan of push-advertising, but I love that it'll use GPS to track your run.
post #16 of 32
This is the athletic equivalent of a Stepford Wife. People, just go out and have fun. Sheesh.
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post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Ok... so you're going to:

1) Thrust advertising on me when I'm out for a run
2) Tell me when I need to give you more money (for new shoes)
3) Tell everyone around me on the same network how fat and slow I am

But you're STILL not going to tell me my heart rate?! You know... something that would actually be USEFUL to me as a runner as opposed to useful to YOU as a money-hungry multi-national corporation. No thanks Nike.

And as a side note... I LOVE how Nike forced every runner in their "Human Race" last weekend to wear a red Nike t-shirt. The bib numbers were screened right onto the shirts... so you HAD to wear a shirt to participate. So the run was essentially nothing more than a massive, world-wide moving Nike billboard. Needless to say, I did NOT participate. No thanks. I did my regular run, with my friends, on my own route, with cheap generic MEC clothing... and the data collected from my run was shared with ONE person... me.

I couldn't agree more. In retrospect, "1984" was a puff piece book compared to what's actually happening in 2008.
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post #18 of 32
Sometimes people seem to try extra hard to look for a reason to hate or fear Apple

Pick a few specific details out of a patent for a product that doesn't even exist, ignore the other details, and get angry about how Apple only serves its marketing partners? On the same week when NBC finally caved in to Apple's refusal to raise TV show prices? That's a stretch!

PS, when I'm out running I would GLADLY accept coupons for doughnuts being pushed to my screen. Yum!
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeo View Post

Ok... so you're going to:

1) Thrust advertising on me when I'm out for a run
2) Tell me when I need to give you more money (for new shoes)
3) Tell everyone around me on the same network how fat and slow I am

But you're STILL not going to tell me my heart rate?! You know... something that would actually be USEFUL to me as a runner as opposed to useful to YOU as a money-hungry multi-national corporation. No thanks Nike.

And as a side note... I LOVE how Nike forced every runner in their "Human Race" last weekend to wear a red Nike t-shirt. The bib numbers were screened right onto the shirts... so you HAD to wear a shirt to participate. So the run was essentially nothing more than a massive, world-wide moving Nike billboard. Needless to say, I did NOT participate. No thanks. I did my regular run, with my friends, on my own route, with cheap generic MEC clothing... and the data collected from my run was shared with ONE person... me.

On the other hand, if the shoes and sensors were all supported with advertising dollars so the product was basically free... who wouldn't want that as an option?

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post #20 of 32
I think I saw these shoes on TV once.
The kid put them on and pushed a button and they automatically laced themselves up to fit his feet.
Was really kool.
I think the kids name was Marty and boy was it a realy long commercial.....
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Sometimes people seem to try extra hard to look for a reason to hate or fear Apple

Pick a few specific details out of a patent for a product that doesn't even exist, ignore the other details, and get angry about how Apple only serves its marketing partners? On the same week when NBC finally caved in to Apple's refusal to raise TV show prices? That's a stretch!

PS, when I'm out running I would GLADLY accept coupons for doughnuts being pushed to my screen. Yum!

People seem to forget that if you go for a jog in the park and carry your cell phone, most of this stuff can already be done without you really knowing it or signing up for it.

You're right, people need to get over it or get rid of their cell phone, EZ-Pass, Credit Cards, Bank Cards...... and on and on and on..
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post

This is the athletic equivalent of a Stepford Wife. People, just go out and have fun. Sheesh.


This thing is Fun. Having had to run with the army for the last 16 years, I'm sick of doing it everyday. Then the Nike+ came along and the updates to your distance, the time and how many calories all made running more fun.

I like hearing someone come on once in a great while, believe me after 16 years it's not that often, congratulate me on a distance run or time I'd never done before. I used the Nike+ system to help run over 500k in Baghdad this last year, motivated by the renewed fun factor it brought to my runs.

So while it might not seem fun to you, this device does make it more fun for me. I would surely welcome new features, perhaps with the ability to shut stuff off in the preferences pane.
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvillus View Post

This thing is Fun. Having had to run with the army for the last 16 years, I'm sick of doing it everyday. Then the Nike+ came along and the updates to your distance, the time and how many calories all made running more fun.

I like hearing someone come on once in a great while, believe me after 16 years it's not that often, congratulate me on a distance run or time I'd never done before. I used the Nike+ system to help run over 500k in Baghdad this last year, motivated by the renewed fun factor it brough to my runs. I only wish

So while it might not seem fun to you, this device does make it more fun for me. I would surely welcome new features, perhaps with the ability to shut stuff off in the preferences pane.

Good points!

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post #24 of 32
I hope they adopt the Nike+ to bicycles.
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post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc OSX View Post

So...you want them to be able to detect your heart rate through your feet?

If you want a heart rate monitor, and this is just a suggestion, GO AND BUY A HEART RATE MONITOR!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

Apple consistently caters to the user--that's why so many of us are using their products. Almost everything in the OS is focused on the user. Almost everything on the iPhone is focused on the user. I never thought I would see this sort of accusation leveled against them. I'd sing a different tune if they delivered a Nike+ that forced you to listen to advertisements, but I just don't see that happening. Just another patent.

Have you tried using Genius yet? The only "benefit" I see of it is the quick-links to "similar songs to purchase" through iTunes. My MacPro spent more than two hours indexing/preparing tracks, and after half an hour of use, I disabled the entire "genius" system. Apple is digging deeper into a closed ecosystem, and customers are bearing the burden. For example, including a (not free in terms of chips, space, or energy profile) receiver into EVERY iPod Touch that will only be used by a handful of customers, and CAN only be used by a specific (co-branded) shoe. That's not "catering to the customer", that's putting the burden of an (arguably irrelevant, definitely not universally applicable) accessory into EVERY iPod Touch purchase.

The consumer will, of course, dictate how this plays out. Apple creates a fine product, and undoubtedly this device will sell well. I will not be purchasing one.
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc OSX View Post

So...you want them to be able to detect your heart rate through your feet?

If you want a heart rate monitor, and this is just a suggestion, GO AND BUY A HEART RATE MONITOR!!!

One track mind. Even if it has to be a second bud, to me it makes the most sense to also support such a device when you're recording related athletic information.

Do you know of any heart rate devices that can record and feed data into OS X for long term tracking?


Quote:
Originally Posted by stonybrookadam View Post

receiver into EVERY iPod Touch that will only be used by a handful of customers, and CAN only be used by a specific (co-branded) shoe.

While not ideal, the little device can be attached to the shoe in a pouch and still work.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

While not ideal, the little device can be attached to the shoe in a pouch and still work.

There are also 3rd-party solutions, too. I prefer Brooks for running and New Balance for cross training/walking. I found something like this at some store and it works well.
http://grantwoodtechnology.com/shoepouch/
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post #28 of 32
If they're going to be able to tell where I am and send me an ad, I hope there's a way they can tell me when a cute runner of the opposite sex is in my vicinity with like pace and distance capabilities, and give me an electronic heads up on that.

"hey, Zan... hunky Cal Tech grad in his early 30s who does mini marathons is on your Six at 300 meters and closing. Slow down, bend over and adjust your shoe on my mark... NOW!"

post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

If they're going to be able to tell where I am and send me an ad, I hope there's a way they can tell me when a cute runner of the opposite sex is in my vicinity with like pace and distance capabilities, and give me an electronic heads up on that.

"hey, Zan... hunky Cal Tech grad in his early 30s who does mini marathons is on your Six at 300 meters and closing. Slow down, bend over and adjust your shoe on my mark... NOW!"

There's no potential creep factor there, none at all.
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

There's no potential creep factor there, none at all.

keep looking over your shoulder for the black helicopters.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

...For instance, training for a marathon is highly scientific. You don't just run everyday until you can eventually hit 26.2 miles at one time. But outside the science of it you have to take the runner into consideration. While nice an easy task, it's possible for a system to be automated. It can know when your HRM is dangerously high or know when you are getting worn out so it can change a song to a faster tempo or even audibly give you positive reinforcements to keep going another 50M like a trainer would you in other ways, Mickey from the movie Rocky "You're gonna eat lightnin' and you're gonna crap thunder!", just to get the best from your workout.

They could even make shirts whose fibers tighten and loosen to breath more or less depending on the outside temperatures compared to your temperature. They could get an estimate of your water and electrolyte loss through your skin. Since an armband is wrapped around your arm there is potential to get even more advanced ways to monitor your vitals to make sure you are not only healthy, but are getting the most from your workout...

I'm able to predict things at least one year in the past.

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-...RS=TTL/garment
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post #32 of 32
why hasn't anyone mentioned this: iPod touch with GPS!

i wonder if other apps would be allowed to access the Nike + iPod sensor w/GPS, like the Maps app; then i'd just clip the sensor to my iPod case or keychain and i'd have myself an... iPod touch with GPS!
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