I woke up this morning to several email messages asking whether the Nike+iPod Sport Kit works with Apple’s newly announced iPhone. I spent the better part of yesterday wandering around Macworld taking pictures and asking questions, and I’m afraid I don’t have good news to report.
Not being a member of the press, my options for getting answers from Apple are the same as any other Macworld attendee: ask the Apple employees who are standing next to the display units. Unfortunately, the people positioned near the iPhone had to spend more time acting as security guards, than answering questions. When I asked one harried iPhone rep about Nike+ support, I only managed to get a terse “I don’t know” as she intercepted a hand reaching for the display case. Other Apple employees gave me similarly vague answers like, “I don’t believe that’s a feature,” and “I don’t think so. No.” I’m hoping it will be easier to get some cast-in-stone confirmation today.
But I’m not holding out any hope that the Nike+iPod Sport Kit will work with the iPhone. Here’s my thinking:
Nano sales would suffer. From Apple’s standpoint, the Nike+iPod Sport Kit was pretty clearly designed to sell iPod nanos. And not only to sell iPod nanos, but to sell iPod nanos as a “second iPod” to customers who already own a regular iPod. Easily the second-most-asked question about the Sport Kit (after “Can I use it with my own shoes?”) is, “Can I use it with my full-sized iPod?” Apple is very good at differentiating their iPod line in such a way that it’s easy to convince yourself you need more than one. Given the overwhelming success of the Nike+iPod partnership so far, I’m guessing that a lot of people caved in and bought a “second iPod”, just to use the Sport Kit. It’s in Apple’s best interest to keep it that way.
iPhone sales won’t need the help. The iPhone is such a compelling new product that Apple will have a hard time keeping up with the demand for some time to come, regardless of Nike+ support. And it’s hard for me to see Nike+iPod support being the deciding factor in many people’s buying decision. In contrast, I think a lot of people decide to buy a nanos only because it supports the Sport Kit. Maybe this will change when the market is saturated with similar phones and Apple needs to add a unique feature or two, but that could be a long time coming.
Tech Support. With so much new technology rolled into the iPhone, Apple must be very concerned about how it’s all going to hold up under real-world conditions. Especially the touch screen feature, but also the internal accelerometer, proximity sensor, etc. There will be plenty of bugs and complaints in “Revision A” for Apple to address as it is. Encouraging users to submit the iPhone to the abuse of running or working out with it would only add to the problems.
What you saw is what you’ll get. With the euphoric haze of the Kenote address drifting away, we’re now starting to focus on some of the things the iPhone won’t have. No sharing music between iPhones. No purchasing tracks directly from the iTunes store. No 3rd party applications. The list goes on. While Jobs didn’t cover every single feature of the iPhone during the Keynote, in terms of major functionality, if Steve didn’t mention it, it probably won’t be there. And I think that Nike+iPod support would have been a big enough feature for a passing mention.
Sorry to be such a downer. I would love to see the iPhone work with the Nike+iPod Sport Kit. Imagine being able to upload your workout data directly from the phone to the Nike+ site, and then check your stats via the widgets… all without having to sit down at a computer. That would be killer for me. Hopefully it’s on Apple’s radar for Rev. B, but I’m not holding my breath.
Prove me wrong, Apple. Prove me wrong.