Apple wants you to share your workout data

Posted by Shane McGlaun

If you frequent the gym, I'm sure at one point or another, you must have looked over and seen someone using the same piece of equipment or doing a similar exercise.

So what do you do? Speed up or work out harder, of course! That's not a bad thing, though, as a little competition is actually quite healthy in the gym. So it really isn't much of a surprise that Apple recently filed a patent application (spotted by 9to5Mac) outlining a way for users to share their workout details with friends.

The really interesting part of the patent app? Your friends don't have to be next to you on the treadmill, they can be around the world.

The patent - titled "Interfacing Portable Media Devices And Sports Equipment" - was co-filed at the US Patent Office (USPTO) by Donald Ginsberg, an engineer at Apple who heads up the Made for iPod initiative.

With Ginsberg listed on the patent app it makes me wonder if Apple plans to license the tech to gym equipment manufacturers. I can certainly see an app that offers rankings for say, everyone using the same treadmill, along with the ability to compete for the longest distance or the fastest mile.

Indeed, the filing explains a system where you can immediately synchronize data between friends. Apparently, the users of Apple gear with the new feature wouldn't need anything like a bracelet or special case to allow the data synchronization. Rather, it would be something integrated into the hardware right out-of-the-box.  
 
The official patent application reads thus: "The user can establish communication between the media player and the treadmill by inserting the connector insert of the treadmill into the connector receptacle of the media player. Again, the treadmill insert may be recessed for mechanical stability reasons.

"While the workout is underway, the treadmill can record workout data on the media player. [...] User data, prompts, and other information may be generated and displayed using either the media player or the display on the treadmill. The treadmill may also have other means of receiving input data, in this example, the touchpad. The touchpad may be a keypad or other such tactile interface, or it may be another type of data entry interface."