If you’re into sports and fitness, you probably like the idea of your own personal trainer. That someone that will keep you focused, drive your performance higher, and keep you on track. Many can hire one, while others find it out of their price range.
Fitness, and sports are a massive business that continues to grow. Estimates show that the global fitness industry accounts for a staggering $49 billion. So, it’s no wonder that the technology sector has jumped in with both feet.
It made sense that Nike and Apple would marry up products for the iPhone and iPod Touch. After all, the iPhone has gyroscopic and accelerometer technology, so the ability to use it for fitness seemed a no-brainer. Given Nike’s deep desire to be seen as an athletics product innovator, partnering with Apple was a solid fit.
With Nike+ FuelBand you can track running, walking, dancing, basketball and other activities by driving to goals and tracking your progress. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The company tracks more than 6,800 apps in the health and fitness category, and claims that usage – measured by the number of times people open and use the apps – has grown by 62% this year, compared to 33% for apps in general.
Apple has clearly been watching, which is why iOS8 and the release of the iPhone 6 could revolutionize how we do sports, fitness, and health.
If you haven’t already seen it, Apple is priming the pump with their ad “Strength” which has the song “Chicken Fat” as the background. In a cool historical twist, the song was originally commissioned by John F. Kennedy when the Presidential Fitness Program made its debut.
The ad shows a plethora of athletes and those seeking better fitness using their iPhone and apps to track their progress. The ad targets the iPhone 5s, but the timing of it all screams iPhone 6 and iOS8, and here’s why.
SEE APPLE’S “STRENGTH” AD
iOS8 will be released with a Health App which Apple touts as giving “an easy-to-read dashboard of your health and ﬁtness data.” Apple is opening up Health to developers, which means that growing market will be expanding.
“A glance at wellness and fitness accessories retailed by Apple in the US is a good indication on how many health, fitness and vital sign tracking devices the iPhone can replace. These accessories come with applications that are designed for daily use,” wrote Flurry’s chief executive Simon Khalaf.
Flurry adds that, “Fitness Fanatics are 62% females and 38% males. That compares to 48% females and 52% males for the average mobile consumers. This is a 42% over-index on the female side and a 27% under-index on the male side,” which may also explain why the “Strength” ad sees females as a dominant presence.
For those in sports, the ability to directly analyze player performance will not only become something at the big league level, but down to amateurs. Batting and golf swings. Speed on football routes. Applying English to the ball for arching shots in soccer. The possibilities seem to be only limited by developers and the hardware to capture movement. This ability to provide biofeedback and personal performance measurement will allow reporting on the fly, and with it, athletes may not need to be tethered to trainers 24/7.
There will always be a world for human fitness professionals. The ability to put a friendly (or stern face, depending on how hard you need to be pushed), will always outweigh anything a personal device can offer. Still, the moves that Apple is making with mobile devices should have us thinking healthier, faster, higher, farther, just as President Kennedy hoped his the Presidential Fitness Program would do for kids all those years ago. Both new hardware in the iPhone 6 and iOS8 are set for early fall (although rumors now swirl that the larger, 5.5-inch “phablet” model could be delayed till November or possibly early next year due manufacturing issues). No matter when they hit, expect Health to be front-and-center and with it, the sports and fitness world will be revolutionized.
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