Nike and Apple to Take Flight Together

Discussion
May 24, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Forget about being like Mike. Soon consumers will be able to be like Steve Jobs. (Steve Jobs?)


Apple Computer and Nike Inc. announced yesterday that the two companies were teaming up to produce an exercise system that communicates information wirelessly from a Nike sneaker to an iPod nano so that runners can track their speed, calories burned and distance traveled.


The Nike+iPod Sport Kit, as it will be known, will use a sensor in the shoe to communicate information via a computerized voice to the wearer. Following the workout, users can plug their iPod nano into their PC or Mac to transfer data to the Nikeplus.com web site.


Nike CEO Mark Parker said in a joint press release with Apple, “Nike+iPod will change the way people run. Nike+iPod creates a better running experience. We see many more such Nike+ innovations in the future.”


In addition to keeping track of performance, Apple has developed podcasts and special music mixes for exercisers on its iTunes Music Store.


Apple’s Jobs said, “We’re working with Nike to take music and sport to a new level. The result is like having a personal coach or training partner motivating you every step of your workout.”


The Nike+iPod Sport Kit will retail for $29 and will be available for purchase within the next 60 days.


Nike will initially introduce a Nike Air Zoom Moire (retail approximately $100) compatible with the new system. The sportswear company plans to introduce six more shoe models in the fall. 


Moderator’s Comment: Will the Nike+iPod Sport Kit be a hit with consumers? Where do you see other new applications for technology to combine with common
tasks and/or recreational pursuits to make the experience easier or more fulfilling?

George Anderson – Moderator

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9 Comments on "Nike and Apple to Take Flight Together"


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Don Delzell
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Don Delzell
14 years 9 months ago

It’s great publicity. Part of the Nike brand positioning is being on the cutting edge of technology. Running or jogging enthusiasts will find value in the technology. A very small segment of the overall population. The rest will say “wow…Nike’s got some incredible stuff.” Consider this advertising; but significant in that it remains central to the brand premise, supports and enhances the emotional connections, and continues to distinguish it from its competitors. Taken for those things, these new products show continued commitment to a winning strategic differentiation.

Odonna Mathews
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Odonna Mathews
14 years 9 months ago
I think this is an exciting and innovative use of two strong brands to create value for a variety of consumers, from the already health-oriented to those just wanting not to be a couch potato anymore. Providing individual feedback to customers based on their physical activity and needs creates a useful outcome between two pieces of technology. And offering music selections geared to exercise is an added plus. (I always find that I get my most strenuous exercise when I am listening to music.) Other applications? Promote to “walkers” as well as “runners” and provide feedback on the number of steps walked each day and week. The health experts now recommend that consumers walk 10,000 steps (or 5 miles) each day, and this might help motivate people to do more in a fun way. Additional features like BMI (body mass index) and possibly dietary recommendations based on the calories consumed that day could be of interest and again help consumers make wise and healthful choices. Nike and Apple could align with health clubs, rec clubs… Read more »
Stephan Kouzomis
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Stephan Kouzomis
14 years 9 months ago

Brilliant on both sides! And importantly, thinking ahead of the norm / curve, if you will, suggests great planning process and practices. Which Industries need to take note?

Food, grocery and foodservice, maybe, if not for certain. Hmmmmmmm

Ben Ball
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Two great brands target a key need of their respective constituencies — continuous and instant feedback — in a way that also reinforces the “I’m involved and on the cutting edge” psyche of many serious fitness buffs and away you go. This should be a hit. As important, this is a VISIBLE badge of both “serious” (ala the arm-band heart monitors) and “cool” (iAnything). That means everyone from the couch potato wannabe to the image-oriented fitness buff is in the market.

Hugh Henry
Guest
Hugh Henry
14 years 9 months ago

Absolutely stunning. What an amazing announcement.

As both Marketer and Graphic Designer, I applaud both Apple and Nike on this product launch. When great brands come together, there is always a danger of one dominating the other. This creates a “what were they thinking” response in many consumers. In this case, both brands are well respected, strong and very dynamic. I think the response here will be one of “what a perfect fit!”

I can’t wait to see the TV commercials, they are undoubtedly going to great.

Bravo

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Sport and technology all in one package, and for what seems to be a reasonable price – how much cooler can you get? I was dazzled recently when my son told me that he is going to a runner’s store where a video will record him on a treadmill which will also measure that different places on his foot where he puts pressure so as to recommend the most appropriate shoes for his size/weight/style. How quickly this has been superseded.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
14 years 9 months ago

I think both partners break out of the box with this partnership. Apple moves the iPod line from dominant music-playing gadget toward being a total-lifestyle device. The functionality is more than just a gimmick. I’m not a runner, but if Nike or someone comes out with a similar device for heart rate and RPM monitoring while cycling, I’m all over it. The pre-selected training playlists at the iTunes Music Store round out the package.

Nike, too, teams up with one of the few brands that can actually add something to its own, and moves its shoes from best-of-breed footwear to a critical component in a total training package.

Excellent move for both companies.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Great move and yet another example of ongoing convergence between apparel and tech…we’ll be seeing more of it. Apple could form multiple similar alliances without the concept getting played out (ski companies? Boarding?).

Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

When forming alliances, it’s best to team up with the best players. Too often, only the weak players join together, which accomplishes nothing. Apple and Nike are the best marketers in their fields, known for buzz, innovation, and profitability. How could this be a mistake? Apple could form alliances with firms that measure golf and baseball swings, navigation systems and Palm devices. Apple’s challenge: edit out the weak alliance partners.

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