Nike+iPod system uses proprietary 802.11, not Bluetooth | iLounge News

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Nike+iPod system uses proprietary 802.11, not Bluetooth

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2006
News Categories: iPod Accessories

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Confirming whispers heard by iLounge over the past several months, an individual familiar with the product disclosed that Apple’s first wireless iPod accessory—the Nike+iPod Sport Kit—will use a proprietary 802.11 protocol, rather than Bluetooth, for communications. Announced earlier today, the $29 Sport Kit consists of an in-shoe sensor that transmits running performance data, and an iPod receiver that helps record the data and provide audio feedback to the runner. Though not conclusive in any way as to Apple’s future plans, the company’s use of a proprietary 802.11 protocol rather than the widely-licensed Bluetooth 2.0+EDR standard, combined with the surprisingly low price point and small size of the Nike+iPod Dock Connector-based Adapter, suggests that future iPod wireless accessories will use similar technology. Such a move could conceivably help Apple avoid the bandwidth limitations associated with Bluetooth standards, and reduce the number of fully “iPod-compatible” wireless accessories released by third-party developers.

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Comments

1

This is the greatest day of my life.  My two loves joinend together!  Ipod and running!

Posted by Cannon Turner on May 23, 2006 at 5:35 PM (PDT)

2

What’s “proprietary 802.11?” That’s like saying “somewhat pregnant.” It’s either 802.11 according to the standard, or it’s not.

Posted by m.s. on May 23, 2006 at 6:12 PM (PDT)

3

I think my girlfriend just had an orgasm when I showed her this.

Posted by BlindSeaman on May 23, 2006 at 6:22 PM (PDT)

4

m.s.—just because the transport layer adheres to a standard 802.11 protocol doesn’t mean any of the layers above have to be open.  They can be as proprietary as Apple & Nike want and still use 802.11 for transport.

Posted by good grief on May 23, 2006 at 7:29 PM (PDT)

5

I am really starting to hate Apple’s insane need to make everything porprietary.

Posted by stark23x on May 23, 2006 at 7:48 PM (PDT)

6

Why do you lay the proprietary on Apple?  If you think Fairplay is proprietary, well, then MS’ WMP Protected is just as proprietary.  And AAC is actually less proprietary than the WMP.

But isn’t this thing a Nike product?  It seems to me that Nike wants to control the higher layer protocols between the shoe sensor and the iPod attachment.

Posted by mark on May 23, 2006 at 8:39 PM (PDT)

7

Proprietary from a security perspective, I bet.  There is no way they are going to afford are integrate the necessary processor power to handle WPA2 encryption, as well as all the other requirements of gull 802.11 compliance.  So they probably are using a subset of the standard and where necessary developed their own low-power software to fill in the gaps.

Posted by stingerman on May 23, 2006 at 8:44 PM (PDT)

8

I could really see high schools and colleges possibly using this technology for their runners to help track results during pratices etc. I mean, it’s a possibility, a cool possibility…

Posted by Interesting on May 23, 2006 at 8:51 PM (PDT)

9

what about video???
ugh! i hope someone hacks this!

Posted by Lizzie on May 23, 2006 at 9:11 PM (PDT)

10

And how do you charge the sensor???

Posted by Vladimir Campos on May 23, 2006 at 9:44 PM (PDT)

11

OK, just got the answer and didn’t like it. So you pay $29 for a thing that cannot be recharged?!

From Apple site: “1. The sensor’s battery is not replaceable. Battery life will vary considerably based on use and other factors.”

Posted by Vladimir Campos on May 23, 2006 at 9:49 PM (PDT)

12

Vladimir, Apple states that the battery in the sensor should easily outlast the life of the shoe. 

Considering the hostile environment the sensor is designed to operate in (sweat, water, pressure, shocks), I think it more than makes sense that you can’t replace the battery. 

The fact that the whole kit (transmitter and receiver etc) is only $29 makes this a pretty reasonable outcome IMHO.

-Mart

Posted by Martin Hill on May 24, 2006 at 12:42 AM (PDT)

13

gg, running a non-IP or proprietary layer 3 on top of 802.11 doesn’t make it “proprietary 802.11.” They’re completely different things, that why there are layers.

Posted by m.s. on May 24, 2006 at 4:01 AM (PDT)

14

will you absolutely need the nike shoe to use this or can you attach it to your regular shoe somehow?

Posted by jqc on May 24, 2006 at 4:16 AM (PDT)

15

Maybe the Nike shoes will have cute little cubby holes for the transmitter.  You just know the shoes will cost some crazy price.

If I still ran every day, this would be cooler…oh well.

Posted by Gordy. in Atlanta, GA on May 24, 2006 at 5:52 AM (PDT)

16

Can’t you just call it a 2.4Ghz RF signal? Or else we should say that 2.4Ghz cordless phones run on proprietary 802.11 signals as well!

The sensor’s battery is listed to last 1200 hours, that’s 12000km of running for me. I’m sure I’ll find a way to break this virtually unbreakable sensor before the battery ever runs out.

Also you CAN run this on iPod Video… but why would anyone want to run with an iPod Video? Could you imagine the undue stress on the hard drive?

Posted by Donald on May 24, 2006 at 6:03 AM (PDT)

17

Won’t they have locked down the wireless signal so someone can’t come along and sell a knock off of the original for less money taking the revenue stream away from both Apple and Nike?

Posted by Tim Coughlin on May 24, 2006 at 6:41 AM (PDT)

18

ms - you’re splitting hairs that 99% of people don’t even know exist, let alone understand.  Remember this is marketing-speak, not a technical white-paper.  Suffice to say it communicates using something 802.11-ish and is proprietary.  Maybe if you write to them you can get them to admit they were wrong or used the wrong words, but I’m not sure I see the point.

As a runner, I think this is a neat idea, especially for the price.  But I’ve heard that Nike’s implementation in other running electronics has left a bunch to be desired, so it’ll be interesting to see how this setup fares in the long run.  (pun intended)

Personally I’ll stick with my Polar pace/distance/heart-rate solution since it works with any running shoes and is a lot easier to see (wrist mounted).  The Nike/Apple thing claims to have voiceovers but that seems like it’d get annoying.

Posted by good grief on May 24, 2006 at 8:02 AM (PDT)

19

Donald, how do you know you can use it with the iPod with video?  Everywhere I read (NIKE+ and Apple) both say iPod nano only.

If it was available for the iPod with video too, I would definently buy it.  But I can see why it would be iPod nano only, what with the means of storage being a lot safer for running.

Posted by Xenoxide on May 24, 2006 at 12:19 PM (PDT)

20

Maybe they are using 802.11 because future versions of the iPod will have this built-in (making the litle transmitter that you stick into the port unnecessary).  And with 802.11 built-in, the iPod could wirelessly communicate with your computer, AirPort Express, speakers, etc.  Bluetooth could do this too, but 802.11 has more speed for higher bandwidth items like video streaming from the iPod to your TV.

Posted by Jeff on May 24, 2006 at 12:52 PM (PDT)

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