Nike plus Apple equals iSmug

nike_overviewhero20070905.pngImagine all the hand-rubbing and maniacal laughter that greeted the arrival of this little beauty – the NikePlus iPod attachment – through Hocking’s letterbox this afternoon, just when I thought my eyes were going to explode from proofreading (don’t laugh; editing-related ocular decompression is a recognised phenomenon). Aha! I thought, fondling the parcel. A method of combining my innate geekery with a bit of exercise.

The parcel was chunkily promising and it did not disappoint. Inside were two bits of kit: first, a tiny pedometer/transmitter that fits perfectly into the trapdoor within one’s NikePlus trainers (good and, let me add, grief – into the sock it goes); second, a wee dongle that clicks into the bottom of my first-gen iPod Nano. Bosh. Nothing else to it. The iPod doesn’t even need to be restarted. A new menu item appears, and it is a simple matter to enter one’s weight and start running. Apple efficiency – it just works. Designed in California by Your Betters(TM).

The interface is a delight. Runs can be of a time, of a distance. Calories are counted. If the pedometer component doesn’t do a good enough job of accurately capturing distance, it can be simply calibrated. Once you’ve completed the run, the iPod will sync the data (distance, times, continuous speed, etc.) with iTunes and you can review your progress. The data are even uploaded to Nike, if you want, so you can compete with people called Chet.

This is so cool I could bust. When preparing for runs in the past, I’ve actually resorted to driving the route just to get an idea of how long the route is; now, all I need to do is select ‘half marathon’ or – gulp – ‘marathon’ from the list.

The uber-cool thing is that, periodically, the music track quietens and a sexy American lady tells me how long I’ve been running for. She’ll say things like “You’re half way,” and this is just solid gold information. That’s exactly the stuff you need to know.

A last thought: I can’t quite tell whether this next bit is freaky or cool, but as I finished my run (at the door to my house; how’s that for timing?), the sexy American lady told me how long I’d been running for, calories burned, and so on…and then I heard another voice.

“Hi, this is Paula Radcliffe!”

Nervously, I checked the bushes.

“You’ve just run your longest time. Congratulations!”

“Er, thanks. But that’s only because it’s the first time I’ve -“

“Be sure to check your stats online with NikePlus!”

“OK. Bye, Paula.”


I stared, awestruck, at the device.

Eighteen quid for geekery like this?

I got in, gave Britta a five-minute debriefing of all the features (in case she missed something during the five-minute briefing I gave her on the way out) and went upstairs to my office. I put the Nano on the desk.

That’ll do, Nano.” I wiped a tear from my eye. “That’ll do.”

Published by

Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

6 thoughts on “Nike plus Apple equals iSmug”

  1. Just wait until you get to the end of a run and you wait, whilst details of the run are read out, to hear Lance or Paula tell you that you’ve just done your longest run or fastest mile or maybe that you’ve burned some “serious calories” (as Lance puts it). Or (as in most of the time) you just get a long silence at the end of the readout, and you realise that there are no enthusiastic words regarding your latest run. It bites.


  2. I’m waiting for the iCouch, which clips onto your bag of crisps and calculates just how long you’ve been lounging on the sofa for and how many beers you’ve drunk.

    Very amusing post, though!

  3. “Bonjourno! This is Luciano Pavarotti! You’ve managed to eat your bodyweight in salted, MSG-laden snacks. Eessa bueno!”

  4. Ian, you brought a tear to my eye too. And I don’t even run.

    I did once have the idea for i-Beer, which is similar to Roland’s idea. Not quite sure what i-Beer is but I’m sure it’s necessary.

    Technical question: what’s a ‘dongle’?

    Thanks for your comment on me plog, by the way. That female anarchist book sounds amazing. I will have to look it up. I haven’t seen it on my wanders.

    I’m reading the Romanov book and next have a book about the tsarist government and administration. What sort of thing are you looking into specifically? I’ll have a think if I’ve come across anything appropriate.

    Hey, as the author of a technothriller, and one of the few who have read Taking Comfort, would you believe that the paperback of TC was included in a chart of technothrillers on In fact, it peaked at number 4! The amazing thing is I had no idea it is a technothriller. Even now, I can’t for the life of me fit it into that genre. I am worried that people expecting a technothriller will be sorely disappointed. Who decides these things? Must be due to a technoglitch, especially as the book’s overall amazon ranking was far from spectacular.

    Carry on!

  5. i want one of those! although my bloody back is stopping me running at the moment… perhaps i can hack it to give Johnny Vegas chiming in with “get your arse in gear lad or you’ll look like me, ya lazy fat twat!”

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