In January, we told you about the Nike Amp+ iPod watch which doubles as a remote control for your iPod Nano. Recently, Nike introduced the Nike+ SportBand which seems to be a variation on the theme with a slightly different focus.
The SportBand answers the question “What if I don’t want to run with music?” This isn’t as theoretical as you might think since many races ban music players. With the Nike+ SportBand, you can see all the same information that the Nike Amp+ iPod displayed on the screen of your Nano (pace, distance, calories burned, etc.), but on an LCD integrated into the SportBand itself rather than on the screen of your iPod.
Like the Nike Amp+, you can still upload your running data when you get home, so it’s just as well integrated into the whole Nike/Apple ecosystem. All you do is pop the Nike+ Link out of the SportBand, and plug it directly into your computer’s USB port.
Nike has also introduced a web-based coaching system called Nike+ Coach with professionally crafted programs for a range of fitness goals. Everything from “Walk to run” to “Marathon” is laid out with motivational tools, progress tracking, peer challenges, and more. This might sound trivial, but I’m here to tell you that workout buddies — even virtual ones — are a major factor in keeping up an exercise program. Of course, you probably have to have the hardware to make much use of the virtual coach, but the cost of entry is really pretty minimal. The Nike+ SportBand sells for a very reasonable $59.
By Paul Hubbard