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Monday, November 27, 2006, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Apple and Nike to introduce Nike Amp+ bracelet for iPods [image]

Apple Computer and Nike plan to introduce a new wireless wristband device that will allow runners to interact with their iPods without constantly fiddling with the players' sweat-slicked Click-Wheel.

According to a report in Men'sHealth, the $80 device will act as a wrist-mounted Bluetooth remote and let users browse the songs on their iPod and check running times without that constant fumbling that often ensues while attempting to maintain focus on a run.

The device will sync up with the existing Nike+iPod running system, displaying information on an illuminated LED display "hidden beneath the matte-finish face of the bracelet." Meanwhile, the iPod may remain tucked away in a runner's pocket or armband.

Further features of the device, expected to be released under the name Nike Amp+, are unclear from the report. However, a single included marketing image suggests that gadget may hold potential to deliver one of the most frequently-requested components for the Nike+iPod system: a heart rate monitor.

Since beginning their foray into the wireless iPod accessory market earlier this July, Apple and Nike have sold over 450,000 of the Nike+iPod sport kits. The $30 system includes a wireless Bluetooth mode that inserts under the heel of a Nike+ compatible running shoe and a transceiver that plugs into an iPod nano.

nike+amp

Nike+iPod wristband | Image copyright: Men'sHealth


The Nike+iPod kit gathers data such as distance, calories burned, time and pace. The data is then stored on the iPod and easily uploaded through iTunes to nikeplus.com, a personal service site where runners can track their own progress and challenge other runners.

In recent months, Nike has been working on new functionality for nikeplus.com, such as adding a new 'route finder' to the web software that will let runners easily map and share their favorite running routes.

The shoemaker has also been working to expand its Nike+ enabled footwear line, for which there are now over a dozen different models.