Nike + iPod Sports Kit
We were sceptical upon hearing Apple was working with Nike to integrate the iPod as a running accessory. The venture smacked more of a marketing exercise than a genuine attempt to improve either product.
It just goes to show how wrong you can be. The Nike + iPod Sports Kit really does enhance your running experience. This £19 product consists of a small sensor and a 2.4GHz wireless receiver that works with a pair of Nike+ trainers. These have a hole in the sole, which tucks the sensor comfortably out of the way. Setup couldn’t be easier: slot in both devices then jog around to establish a connection. A new Nike + iPod menu option opens up offering workouts such as time, distance, or amount of calories you want to burn, based upon your weight and speed – or there’s a basic workout that just measures your performance. Then simply choose a playlist or shuffle the songs… and you’re away.
While running, a tap of the centre button gives spoken information on time, speed and distance. You can also dedicate one song as the ‘PowerSong’. Press and hold the nano’s centre button while running and it’ll kick in. It’s supposed to act as a turbo-boost for your running, although we found it a bit gimmicky.
When you plug the iPod into your Mac it transfers all the running information into iTunes and then launches the NikePlus website (www.nikeplus.com). Here you’ll get detailed charts and information on all your recent runs. You can also set yourself goals, and there’s a group and community element, enabling you to set challenges for your friends and measure your performance against runners from around the world.
One problem we should highlight is that the sensor has a non-replaceable internal battery, so when it dies you’ll need to buy another one. However, it should last a few years, thanks to the low power usage.
The one real letdown is Apple’s bizarre decision to enable the device only for iPod nanos, which seems a bit of a slap in the face for those people who’ve spent £219 on a full-sized iPod.
What could easily have been a novelty item is a triumph of integration that pushes the iPod further than it’s ever been. Our only gripe is that the kit is limited to Nike trainers (you could slip the sensor into any trainers, but it won’t be that comfortable) and the iPod nano.