Does the world really need that? Apple ‘smart shoes’ notify users when they need replacing
PUBLISHED: 19:52 EST, 24 January 2013 | UPDATED: 20:09 EST, 25 January 2013
Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs personally favored athletic shoes by New Balance but now the tech company is looking to create a line of smart shoes that would alert owners when the footwear needs to be replaced.
The shoes would have sensors installed in the heels that would alert the wearer when the footwear was worn down.
The alert could come in the form of a flashing light or beep but would also incorporate a wireless interface, presumably connecting to an iPhone or iPad.
The Cupertino-based company filed designs for the invention with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in July 2012 and it was publicized on Thursday by AppleInsider.
‘Shoes (including sneakers or boots, for example) provide comfort and protection for feet,’ the company wrote in their patent application, explaining that ‘when a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, the shoe may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet.’
The technology is similar to the Nike+ line, which is compatible with Apple devices. It features soles that are crafted to embed a sensor that tracks the athletic performance of its owner.
The sensor monitors workout activity and that information is transmitted to a smartphone app that tracks and compiles a person’s workout history.
Last January, it was reported that Apple had filed a trademark for developing a system that would embed sensors in a variety of workout clothes that could monitor overall body movements during a workout.
News of the Apple patent this week has created buzz that the company could be working on its own branded shoes.
Though some industry insiders downplayed the likelihood of Apple shoes hitting Foot Locker anytime soon.
One analyst told PC Magazine that the company was exploring the technology but would more than likely be taking it slow.
‘We believe that Apple will eventually introduce some type of wearable computing product,’ Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said on January 3.
He suggested a Bluetooth-enabled smartwatch or Google-like glasses might be among the first offerings.