US sports gear powerhouse Nike Inc has teamed up with Apple Computer Inc to make a running shoe that can talk to iPod digital music players, the companies announced on Tuesday.
Apple chief Steve Jobs and the head of Oregon-based Nike, Mark Parker, unveiled a Nike+ Air Zoom Moire shoe imbedded with technology that transmits time, distance, calories burned and pace data to runners' iPods.
The shoe is designed to work with a Nike+iPod Sport Kit, a wireless system that includes an in-shoe sensor and a receiver that attaches to an iPod.
The performance data is displayed on the iPod screen and relayed audibly in real time via iPod headsets. It can also be downloaded to home computers so runners can track their training progress.
Runners can program iPods with motivating songs to kick in during steep climbs or when a burst of speed is craved near a finish line, according to a video ad posted at the nikeplus.com Web site created in tribute to the union.
Nike announced plans to make many of its leading sports shoe models "Nike+ ready."
"If you can incorporate time, distance and calories burned together and make it function for both the fitness runner and the high level athlete, it will take working out to a whole other level," said Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong, who took part in the New York City unveiling along with marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.
The Nike+ shoe was the first product in a planned line of sports products designed to work in harmony with iPods, the firms said.
A Nike Sport Music section was added to Apple's online iTunes Music Store, according to Jobs.
The Nike+iPod Sport Kit was expected to be on sale at Apple and Nike Web sites and at retail outlets within 60 days for US$29.