Yes, you read that title correctly: the Apple Treadmill. Apple recently applied for a patent relating to a “sports equipment apparatus” which features iPod and iPhone compatibility, bringing your personal playlists and movies to your workout.
The US Patent and Trademark Office released the information contained in the patent application to the public February 2, and deals with the internal circuitry and programs which enable this sports equipment to write data to a media player. Most specifically, it talks about cardio equipment complete with diagrams showing how the media player would link up with a treadmill.
Apple Sports Equipment?
One would think this patent is the first step in an entire line of sports equipment, but it doesn't appear that will be happening anytime in the near future. It is speculated Apple is merely trying to beat another iOS company to the punch, sensing this will be thought of by another company eventually.
Apple states in the application that the idea came about due to the popularity of the device itself coupled with the rising desire of the fitness crowd to track their progress more tangibly, allowing them to set and adjust their goals and match them up against the progress of others. More and more people are using some form of digital media player in everyday life, including at the gym, and currently there is no way to record the data tracked in your workout on the treadmill easily. This would take care of that problem without having to install a memory sucking app to the device.
Choose your treadmill and plug your iPhone or iPod's 30-pin connector into a built-in dock, allowing you to not only have access to all of your playlists, but video content as well. This is ideal in a gym setting, as a lot of them only provide a limited amount of channels to watch while you workout. Now you are only limited by what you have downloaded to your device. Catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show while you work out, or listen to your favorite motivating playlist.
Additionally, the patent explains that the software built into the treadmill will be able to recognize your unique user profile. It will automatically adjust settings, and send workout data directly to your Apple device which from there can be sent to the internet to share with your friends. Compete against other users in real-time, which could mean your gym buddy a couple of machines over or a friend across the country.
Fitness App to the Next Level
Some may say that there are already a plethora of apps on the market that do almost the same thing. My Fitness Pal, Nike+, and RunTracker work in almost the same way. The only difference is the option to plug right into the actual fitness equipment which gathers the data and sends it to the device, and the ability to compete real-time with other users. Yes, you can compete against friends using Nike+, but your data is transmitted after your workout is over. The patent is describing a real-time competition. Pretty cool.
The patent was initially filed on October 12, 2011 but was just made public a few days ago. It allows the user to not only plug in their earbuds as they normally would, but also listen to media using a speaker or display. It will likely become a popular item, when it is eventually released to the market. There is no word as to when this will be.