Feeds

Apple blueprints the iShoe

Prepare your trotters

High performance access to file storage

Providing further proof that the days of Apple Computer are far behind, the US Patent and Trademark Office published two of Cupertino's latest patent filings on Thursday: one for a head-mounted MP3 player, and a second for what might well be described as the iShoe.

The first, Wireless Headset with Integrated Media Player, is intended to give Bluetooth phone headsets something to do between calls.

As the filing states: "When used with mobile telephones, such headsets are frequently worn continually by their users, even when not engaged in telephone calls, because it is too inconvenient to have to reinsert the headset in one's ear each time a call comes in, while the phone is ringing and before the caller gives up and disconnects. Therefore, such headsets may be idle most of the time that they are being worn."

Apple solution to this highly unproductive situation is to provide those idle headsets with the capability to play MP3s, record your voice, and respond to voice commands, and allow "voicemail messages received on the user's telephone [to] be uploaded into the headset for later off-line playback."

The envisioned device could either be loaded with tunes through the same connection used to charge it - as with an iPod or iPhone - or by using a phone's wireless capabilities.

Two "embodiments," as they're referred to in patentese, are described: one of the simple monaural Bluetooth earpiece type as seen sprouting from auditory canals worldwide, or a two-speaker over-the-head or behind-the-neck stereo version.

Controls, the filing states, could be "widely varied and may include for example slide switches, depressible buttons, dials, wheels, navigation pads, touch pads, and/or the like."

In addition, "Corresponding visual indicators, such as light-emitting diodes, might also be provided as an indication of the current operating mode" - although, seeing as how the device will be on your head, you may need a friend to tell you which LED is blinking.

The second of Thursday's filings is an odd duck. The concisely entitled Shoe Wear-Out Sensor, Body-Bar Sensing System, Unitless Activity Assessment and Associated Methods solves that vexing problem of knowing exactly how worn your shoes are without needing to...uh...look at them.

The filing goes to great pains to explain the value of that foot-enclosing wonder, the shoe, while decrying the perils of failing footwear:

Shoes (including sneakers or boots, for example) provide comfort and protection for feet. More importantly, shoes provide physical support for feet to reduce risk of foot injuries. A shoe is often necessary to provide support during intense physical activity, such as running, soccer and American football. As a shoe wears, physical support provided by the shoe decreases, thereby reducing associated protection from injury. When a critical wear level is reached, even if the shoe looks like it is not particularly worn, the shoe may not provide adequate support and may, in fact, cause damage to feet.

Fear not, shoe afficianadoes, Cupertino has the solution to your fears of forthcoming footwear failure: "In one embodiment," the filing reads, "a shoe wear out sensor includes at least one detector for sensing a physical metric that changes as a shoe wears out, a processor configured to process the physical metric, over time, to determine if the shoe is worn out, and an alarm for informing a user of the shoe when the sole is worn out."

One can only imagine the sense of disaster-avoidance relief that would be engendered by a 100-decibel alarm screaming from your sole that your Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ 12 iDs are ready for the dustbin.

Speaking of Nike, Apple has for years partnered with that footwear powerhouse to produce the Nike + iPod system, which links your shoes to your iPod or iPhone to keep a running tally of your workouts, providing data uploadable to the Nike+ website where you can keep tallies of your foot-borne travels, plus share and compare workout data with other runners.

Perhaps this latest patent filing envisions a day when info about not only your own personal health, but also that of your shoes, will reside in the cloud. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
Analysts: Bright future for smartphones, tablets, wearables
There's plenty of good money to be made if you stay out of the PC market
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.