Recently there seem to be a new category of cellphones emerging - Sport phones. First there was Nokia 5500 Sport, then a week later Sony Ericsson 710 Walkman sport phone. These mobile handsets have built in pedometer and specially programmed functions to monitor your activities, built-in GPS to measure your jogging distance, integrated text to voice capabilities so you don’t need to look at your phone to read SMS you just received and other cool functions.
It looks like Apple is thinking along the same lines with the development of the iPod music player. We have already described Apple’s Audio Navigation Patent for iPod, (filed Nov 24, 2004) that lets you access your music library following voice commands in the menu. As one of the possible applications, the patent specifically mentioned exercising. Now another patent form Apple (filed on Nov. 24, 2004) became public that describes “Music synchronization arrangement” for portable music player:
the invention pertains to a computing device that is capable of controlling the speed of the music so as to affect the mood and behavior of the user during an activity such as exercise. By way of example, the speed of the music can be controlled to match the pace of the activity (synching the speed of the music to the activity of the user) or alternatively it can be controlled to drive the pace of the activity (increasing or decreasing the speed of the music to encourage a greater or lower pace). One aspect of the invention relates to adjusting the tempo (or some other attribute) of the music being outputted from the computing device. By way of example, a songs tempo may be increased or decreased before or during playing. Another aspect of the invention relates to selecting music for outputting based on tempo (or some other attribute). For example, the computing device may only play songs having a particular tempo. Yet another aspect of the invention relates to both selecting music based on tempo and adjusting the tempo of the music.
Basically what it describes is a pre-programmed possibility for your iPod, with built-in accelerometer, to select and play music depending on the kind of exercise your are doing, or even play a faster music to make your run quicker.
Apple surely knows that very often people use iPods during their exercising. And now we have two patents, filed on Nov.24 2004 (18 months ago) showing Apple’s keen interest to enhance usefulness of iPods during exercising sessions. Then there is Apple-Nike partnership, that Business Week says was initiated by Apple 18 months ago.Seems that all the chips are falling into place and we will see iPod Sport pretty soon.